City of Vernon — When members of the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity in both the Philippines and USA are gathered in full force in the name of service — it was not only historical but a sight to behold.
They typified the three basic cardinal principles of this Greek-letter fraternity of LEADERSIP, FRIENDSHIP and SERVICE when they converged at the Food Bank facility on this small industrial city one Saturday morning – packing and sorting bread, canned goods, fruits, vegetables and toiletries like soaps and other basic human necessities into conveyors, crates, pallets and huge boxes to be distributed to schools in depressed areas and to other less-privileged areas in and around Los Angeles.
Two hundred five brothers and sisters including pledgees/neophytes from as far as Santa Barbara and San Diego comprising seven campuses in Southern California answered the call of service and showed up at 8:30 a.m. together with 28 alumni members of APO (Philippines) Alumni of Greater Los Angeles (better known as APOGLA). The collegiate chapters who volunteered their services were from UCLA (Chi Chapter), USC (Alpha Kappa Chapter), Cal State of Los Angeles (Lambda Mu Chapter), Cal State-San Diego (Alpha Delta Chapter), Cal State-Long Beach (Rho Gamma Chapter), University of California-Irvine (Rho Rho Chapter) and University of Santa Barbara (PSI Chapter).
It must have been tiresome, backbreaking and strenuous for everyone after three hours of non-stop manual labor — packing and sorting but finished their jobs unscathed and joyful. Their common denominator was that rendering service for humanity is worth their time and labor.
One can feel the fun and fulfillment in their faces when they clap their hands and holler with joy everytime they finished filling up huge boxes of goods and ready to be carted away for distribution.
The day was culminated with a lunch of Filipino food provided by APOGLA which spearheaded this service project. A Thanksgiving prayer and the customary singing of the APO Toast song resonated in the lunch hall, as the members formed a circular formation, clasped hands and sang the all-familiar lyrics: :
Here’s to Alpha Phi Omega, loyal brothers we.
True to self and to each other, firm in loyalty.
Daily working, daily striving, ever more to be.
Men of Alpha Phi Omega, our Fraternity.
Brothers clasp the hands of brothers, strong the circle we.
Ever mindful, ever serving, all humanity.
Now we raise our grateful voices, in our song to thee,
Men of Alpha Phi Omega, may we always be.
Kudos to APOGLA President Sis Melody Ang-Gayon and her lieutenants Brods Roehl Reyes and Rhoderick Aralar for organizing this service project.
There was fellowship, banters, exchange of stories and ideas between APO Philippines and USA brethren on how to reinforce their ties and to deepen their commitments to the ideals of volunteerism and fraternalism the APO way, as espoused by its founding fathers led by Dr. Frank Reed Horton in Lafayette College in Pennsylvania on Dec. 16, 1925. – Bro. Dan E. Nino, PSI 1970