Working together through thick and thin

Community News & Features Sep 13, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Art Viola

Art Viola

By Art T. Viola

In behalf of my wife Julie, my bride of 49 years, and my youngest brother Gody, maraming, maraming salamat po!

Hermie and Mila love to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake during summer time. NOTL is a beautiful historic place to visit all year round. From our charming country side setting to the world renown Shaw Festival Theatre. There is something for everyone.

Master of ceremonies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I consider it a great honour and privilege to be one of the speakers tonight. I have known Hermie and Mila for more than twenty years. Our friendship started when I was interviewed by Mila following my election to the office of Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the first capital of Upper Canada in 1997. It was through the newspaper (The Philippine Reporter) that we became good friends because of our mutual respect for each other. I have learned to respect the ability and good sense they have displayed through their work. Both have demonstrated courage and vision. The National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada presented them the award — “Best Editorial and Design.” And the newspaper we all know has the strongest impact in the Filipino community. About ten years ago, I commented on the 20th Anniversary of The Philippine Reporter. I acknowledged the twenty years of unsurpassed excellence in the field of journalism — a record only a few can match.

This accomplishment is one of the highlights of their working together side by side through thick and thin, success and failure, joy and sorrow.

Noon ko din po nakilala ang kanilang mga anak. I met their children and saw their grandchildren from birth to young adulthood.

Their family and friends have visited our town and Niagara Falls as well. Through Hermie and Mila I met the Philippine Press Club of Ontario (PCCO) officers and members, The Philippine Reporter staff and their families and many other groups.

I took them to the hobby farms and the open and unattended produce stands along the rural roads. In these, you take the fruits and leave your money on a thin can or coin/cash box: Wala pong bantay! I hope someday we can do this at home.

There are so many things I can tell about our friendships, but in the interest of time I just want to say to Hermie and Mila: We wish you a blessed, happy anniversary. May God continue to fill your lives with more love, good health and happiness.

Mabuhay kayong dalawa!

Art T. Viola
Your good, good friend
Former Lord Mayor,
Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake

See more photos: Philippine Reporter marks 30th year; Garcia couple’s golden anniversary Pictorial by Rene Sevilla