Saturday’s festivities celebrating local nonprofit Men Educating Men About Health (MEMAH) ended with a surprising twist for founder Jim Morris when guests and supporters called him to be honored along with the night’s three other honorees.
The event was MEMAH’s gala. The organization honored Pasadena entrepreneur Robert C. Davidson as Man of The Year 2016, former Pasadena Water and Power General Manager Phyllis Currie as Woman of The Year 2016, and Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena as Business of the Year 2016.
About 55 gathered for the event in the Art Center South Campus’s former postal facility building, for wine and conversation in the lobby against the throbbing beat of African drums.
Then the group moved upstairs to a large U-shaped table, where each guest introduced himself or herself. After dinner and dessert by California Pizza Kitchen, the program highlighted the people of the year and the local institution of the year.
Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek spoke during the program.
Tornek said honorees like Davidson, Currie and Kaiser Permanente are representative of the strength that people see in the Pasadena community.
“The interesting thing about this evening’s event is that it pulls together what has been a real learning experience for me in the past year,” Tornek said. “I thought that I had a pretty good feel for what was happening in the city. And it turns out I only know the tip of the iceberg. Overseas, the expectation that everyone has is that Pasadena is a much larger community. We punch way above our weight. And what has become really clear to me, the reason for that is really represented in the three honorees that we have here tonight.”
The Mayor also stressed that along with people who serve in local government, supporters and volunteers who serve in Pasadena-based nonprofits are deserving of recognition.
“One important factor that is really unduplicated anywhere in the country, and probably in the world, is that Pasadena has about 1,100 nonprofits,” Tornek said. “That’s more per capita than any place in the country, unquestionably. Each of them relies on volunteers to make them work. I think without these volunteer organizations and the tremendous horsepower that they provide in terms of what they contribute to the community, the needs of our citizens that we have to meet, we could never fulfill.”
At the end of the annual gala, there was a surprise for MEMAH founder Jim Morris, when supporters honored him and announced a new award for MEMAH named as a tribute to Morris’s vision and leadership.
Morris organized MEMAH in 2010, after he conceived the idea in the wake of an unsatisfactory medical screening.
The group started offering free screenings for diabetes, prostate and other diseases that are common health concerns for the middle aged demographic. At the first health screening in 2011, about 1,000 people availed of the service, and the number has grown to over 8,000 coming to the group’s Get Healthy events since then.
MEMAH’s mission is dedicated to raising the awareness, importance, and understanding of men’s health issues by offering knowledge of traditional treatments and suggesting alternative options. Don’t be fooled by the name though – MEMAH accepts and serves anyone including both men and women.
“We want to give first class service to anyone and everyone. It doesn’t matter if you make ten million dollars or ten thousand dollars – everyone is welcome. Your health is important,” said Morris.
For more information about MEMAH, visit www.meneducatingmen.org.