Tess has been a volunteer for the FilCom Center before the facility’s ground breaking more than 15 years ago. During those early years, she was part of a group called “Community Relations Team”, a group headed by Roland and Edith Pascua. This group was tasked with collecting pledges and donations for “building the dream”-a Filipino Community Center to be located on a two-acre site in what used to be sugar lands in Waipahu. The group went from house to house, door to door asking kababayans, as well as other ethnic groups for their donations, focusing on communities with large Filipino populations like Waialua, Wahiawa and Waipahu.
After the FilCom Center was built, there were no community activities at the center. When Toy Arre was appointed as President, the former leaders of the “Community Relations Team” decided to create community-based activities at the center. The core group that included Tess and her husband Jess, also included Roland and Edith Pascua and Ernie and Lydia Pascua.
The group started modestly in February 2005, where 15 students enrolled in ballroom dancing. As the appointed Treasurer, Tess collected the monthly dues from members. Filipino folk dances were added to the repertoire with the recruitment of Ray Rausa as the folk dancing instructor. It was at this time that the group was christened “Himig at Indak Pilipino”. As Treasurer, Tess made sure that all proceeds and fees generated by the group was transmitted to the FilCom coffers and she estimates that since 2005 up to 2012, the group would have raised $30,000 for the non-profit.
Prior to working for FilCom Center as Administrative Assistant in 2004, Tess worked at Kuakini Medical Center for 25 years. On December 31, 2012 Tess finally retired a second time from her eight-year stint at FilCom Center.
Tess and husband Jess are blessed with three grown children. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening, crochet and knitting. Her immediate goal is to go on a cruise and visit different cities. Tess leaves behind a great void at FilCom which its staff is still trying to recover from.