2004 International Professional of the Year: Dr. Lidia Navarrete

Dr. Lidia Navarrete is a medical doctor from El Salvador, specializing in Obstetric and Gynecology, and diagnostic ultrasound. She also posseses a masters degree in Theological Study and Pastoral Counseling from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL.

She currently works as the HIV/AIDS Education Specialist in the ContraSIDA Program at Acercamiento Hispano de Carolina del Sur.  Dr. Lidia Navarrete also runs a Free Medical Clinic to serve the Hispanic community at First Hispanic Baptist Church in Columbia, SC.

She has been living in Columbia for 3 years with her husband and 3 sons. Her husband is a Baptist minister and is the pastor of First Hispanic Baptist Church. Two of her sons are students at the University of South Carolina and the other is at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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2004 International Volunteer of the Year: Peter P. Liunoras

Since becoming members in 1995, Pete and his family have been very active in FAAGC activities.  He served as a Fil-Am basketball coach, Executive Board Member in 1995-1997, First Vice-President in 1997-1999, and Fil-Am President in 2000-2002.

He was born in Makati Rizal, Philippines, but grew up in Batangas City.  He has an aeronautical engineering degree from Feati University in Manila, and another in education from the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point (U.W.S.P.).  He was an assistant professor of military science

at UWSP in 1990-1993.  He has been residing in the U.S. since 1970, a U.S. Army retiree, and he currently works as an Army JROTC instructor at Ridge View High School in Columbia, SC.

Peter Liunoras has also served in the School Improvement Council of both Blythewood Middle and Ridge View High Schools, and the District Two Improvement Council.  He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, a volunteer/usher for Saint John Neumann Church, and a volunteer at the Diabetic Foundation, S.C. Special Olympics, Dorn Veterans Hospital, as well as the Fil-Am Scholarship Volunteer coordinator.  He is married to the former Olga Laut from Bato, Camarines Sur, and they have three children:  Ignacio II, Isel, and Irene–all of whom were members of the Fil-Am dance troupe.  He has one grandson, Brandon (son of Ignacio II and former Jennifer Estrada of Charleston, S.C.).

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2004 Community Ambassador of the Year: George P. Gintoli

In October 2000, Mr. George Gintoli was appointed as State Director of the S.C. Dept.of Mental Health, a position he still holds. As director, Mr. Gintoli oversees 17 community health centers, 7 inpatient facilities, and 6,000 employees statewide. He came to SC from Ohio, where he served as the Chief Executive Officer of Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare System, a network of both inpatient and outpatient sites operated by the Ohio Dept. of Mental Health. The director of that agency, Dr. Michael Hogan, said of Mr. Gintoli, “We have appreciated the leadership George has shown. He has built a high quality medical staff that has produced exemplary care for our consumers, and his organizations have always been managed well and comitted to cultural competency, recognizing that diverse cultures must be treated correctly and respectfully.”

Mr. Gintoli is a graduate of Sacred Heart University (Bridgeport, Connecticut), with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and of the University of New Haven, with a master’s degree in criminal justice. He has also earned a certificate in Executive Leadership in Mental Health Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 1996, he attended the Mental Health Executive Leadership Program at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. In addition, he has had nearly 30 years of healthcare experience.