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Kimi Sugiyama Human Service Award Recipients Named

From left: Ed Philipp, Selection Committee co-chair; Carol Tamanaha and Maderia Bruton, co-acceptors of Agnes Hikida’s award; Marilyn Philipp, Selection Committee co-chair; Terry Hopper, award recipient; and Julia Rose Vurgun, daughter of Terry Hopper.

The annual Kimi Sugiyama Human Service Award is given in recognition of outstanding creativity and self-sacrifice in extending God’s love to others.

It was established by the Sugiyama family in recognition of the late Kimi Sugiyama, who used her law training and her facility in language on behalf of Japanese workers. She advocated for labor rights and human rights to Japanese immigrants who had little or no understanding of the English language and American labor rights.

The 2018 recipients are the late Agnes Hikida of Buena Park and Terry Hopper of Lakewood. Following are profiles from the Selection Committee.

• Agnes Hikida’s service has had many avenues. She was an active member of the Long Beach Japanese Cultural Center, where she was recognized in the community as the “go-to” person. In her role on the board, she worked diligently in key areas, such as the center’s Japanese garden, its Shinnen-enkai New Year’s event, and the LBJCC Festival, a huge, two-day community event that occurs every June. Everyone who attended the annual festival knew her.

Agnes Hikida

Agnes also reached out through her involvement with the Long Beach Harbor Pioneer Project. This all-volunteer intergenerational and multicultural organization provides quality-of-life seminars, as well as educational and entertaining trips of various lengths for seniors and others.

Agnes served tirelessly at Grace Presbyterian Church in Paramount on committees and in activities that included the cleaning of the pews and working in the office. Then, as a charter member of Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, she helped to establish the Megumi Kai Ministry Team and assisted in implementing the annual Shinnen-enkai and the Thanksgiving Potluck.

Agnes also was instrumental in the creation of the Kimi Sugiyama Human Service Award. She worked with the Sugiyama family on it in 2002 and then tirelessly handled necessary details every year, including requesting nominations from the wider community, as well as from her church.

Agnes knew that people mattered, and she was a good communicator. She was observant and made certain that people were kept abreast of issues that concerned them. As a member of the board of her Buena Park mobile home park, she prepared and distributed a monthly newsletter and was the co-planner of the center’s annual auction.

Agnes Hikida loved God, His people, and her church. She demonstrated His love by serving others throughout the community and in her church. She is a posthumous recipient of the Kimi Sugiyama Human Services Award in recognition of her many years of dedication, service, and commitment to God.

• Terry Hopper’s contributions to the Christian Outreach in Action ministry in downtown Long Beach have been profoundly impactful and incredibly selfless. The love and dedication with which she has ministered to COA patrons every month is a testament to her deep desire to bring Christ’s message of hope to those who are most in need of it. She treats everyone with dignity and respect and always strives to interact with participants on both a personal and spiritual level.

“Terry’s involvement with COA truly has been the catalyst that keeps us going each and every month,” stated Grace First member Steve Wilhite.

Terry serves with joy and gladness, and the love of God radiates from her. The COA patrons and those who serve with Terry at COA have been blessed by Terry’s faith, commitment, and service. In addition, Terry has joyfully blessed countless others over the years when she and her daughter Julia Rose have served Home Communion. She and Julia Rose have visited, befriended, and served “the gifts of God for the people of God” to countless individuals, and all have expressed great gratitude for the church coming to them in their time of need. Terry and Julia Rose are the body of Christ as they serve with glad and joyful hearts.

Terry is a charter member of Grace First Presbyterian Church. She was a member of the former Lakewood Presbyterian Church and has served in many different capacities over the years, including being a member of the Youth Team, serving on the Board of Deacons, and sharing her vocal talent in the choir and as part of the Praise Team.

Terry truly lives out her faith. She is a person who “walks the talk.” She serves and loves in the spirit of Christ and shines the light of Christ to all.

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