FAPEHR: Filipino-American Postal Employees of Hampton Roads Association

By: Pacifico (Pat) Talens, Association 7th President

The period of the 1990's was the era when many first and second-generation Filipino-Americans became employed with the United States Postal Service. Most of them were retirees and veterans of the United States Military---especially of the United States Navy, which undeniably the gate that opened the door of opportunities for many Filipinos who came to America, to pursue and experience the American dream. While many were U.S. naval veterans who simply transitioned back to civilian lives after long years of active duties in challenging and dangerous military service, some were military dependents and civilians who made successful inroads to Hampton Roads.

Their diligence, friendly and smiling faces have always been familiar attributes and faces in the postal experiences in the region. They could be seen in different crafts and occupations in the U.S. Postal System, as mail carriers, mail handlers, flat sorters, window clerks, mail processors, manual clerks, mechanics, electronic technicians, custodians, small parcel/bundle sorters, security personnel, and supervisors.

The U.S. Postal Service became a steady source of middleclass income that allowed many Filipino-Americans to climb the economic ladder of opportunity, to nourish well their families and to bring about better lives, and somehow to capture and experience that elusive American dream. But beneath all these success stories of working in the U.S. Postal Service, there existed the idealism to bring about an organization where workers can relax and escape away from the demands and rigors of their postal jobs, where postal workers from different locales could bind themselves to enjoy their commonalities as people of same blood to chat, to gossip, to dance, to eat and to laugh together while sharing the same identity in this great country. Proponents and supporters for creation of an association thus persevered---until this vision became no longer a dream; this wishful thinking became but real. Under the leadership of Mr. Jorge Jose, a tiny band of Filipino-American postal employees tirelessly put in their collective efforts on numerous occasions and brainstormed the formation of this organization. Their efforts and idealism were eventually rewarded by the official establishment of the association. It is called: The FilipinoAmerican Postal Employees of Hampton Roads Association (FAPEHR). Mr. Virgilio Lee Legaspi was its first official President who, along with his officers and friends, successfully finetuned the inner-workings, rules and bylaws of the association.

Officially established on October 4, 1997 and assigned ID Number 54-1885543 by the Department of Treasury, its membership consists of active and retired postal employees (and immediate relatives) residing in Hampton Roads. While most members are Filipino-Americans, membership is extended to other postal employees of different cultures and nationalities who abide by its Constitutions and By-laws. As the association is oriented towards fellowship, it also pursues noble callings of charitable and humanitarian undertakings for the underprivileged and victims of wars and disasters around the world.

Indeed, the planning of its beginning, the dream of its formation, and the triumphant transformation of this idealism into a real association have now been enduring chapters of its history and a great legacy to those Filipino-Americans who were diligently and unselfishly inspired and motivated in creating it, in preserving it, and in making it a hub and cornerstone of humanitarian goals and joyous social functions by members, their families and friends. As the twinkling, beautiful starry night and heaven seem boundless, its goals and future achievements in the sphere of charity and humanitarianism may be unlimited as well.

Past and current Presidents:
Virgilio Legaspi
Oscar Gador
Esther Parrilla
Cleo Juachon
Quentin Caragan
Virgilio Legaspi (2nd term)
Pacifico (Pat) Talens
Alfredo Honrada
Anita Bennett
Esther Parrilla (2nd term) current

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