Today’s a special day for me.  I got to recognize at the Spirit of Volunteerism Luncheon two important volunteers for the Dragon Kim Foundation, Teren Shaffer and Thao Ngo.

Teren was Dragon’s conservatory director.  On the day we got the news that our son had gotten into OCSA, it was Teren that we met to take a tour of the school.  When Dragon had his idea about starting a music program for kids in Santa Ana, it was Teren that he spoke to.  When Dragon was killed that August, it was Teren that we turned to, to ask if he could help us get that music program going.  And since then, Teren has been there for us, always helping us find ways to better reach and help deserving children.  We have much to thank Teren for, and we are grateful for his loyal support and friendship.

Thao and I have known each other for 16 years, when I started working at ConAgra.  I was on the brand management side, Thao was our Finance Manager.  One day, we two foodies bonded over talk about the shrimp truck on the North Shore of Oahu, and we have been friends ever since.  It’s not easy to be best friends with someone whose son was killed.  Thao was there for me daily in the depths of my pain.  There is a very thin, fine line between letting someone cry when she needs to, and being there to bring her up so that she doesn’t get stuck in the pain.  Thao is always on the right side of that fine line.

Also, it’s not easy to be best friends with someone who wants to start a start-up non-profit. You get dragged into all the demanding needs of the organization — not just planning the programs and the events, but the day-to-day operations of an organization. Thao became the Treasurer of our Board of Directors, and she weekly volunteers her time and talent to be our Finance Director, keeping us fiscally safe and strategically sound.

Thao and Teren serve on several committees each: our Concert Committee, our Fellowship Committee, our Scholarship Committee, our Music program team.  They keep the Foundation that is near and dear to my heart always front and center for their time and attention, in addition to their other full-time demanding jobs and roles in their respective beautiful families.  Daniel, Hannah, and I are lucky to have them as part of our DKF Family.  Thanks for everything, Thao and Teren.

To read our full nomination, please see these personal pages:

Teren Shaffer
Thao Ngo