The Los Osos Chamber of Commerce has named Rodolfo “Dick” Pacaoan, a former Filipino sharecropper turned Central Coast community leader, its 2011 Citizen of the Year.
“I am shocked and very honored,” said Pacaoan after learning of the award.
Pacaoan arrived in this country from the Philippines in 1975. He began his career as a sharecropper and an assembler at an electronics factory.
In 1995, Pacaoan and his wife, Veronica, started Bay Osos Residential Care, a senior care facility in Los Osos. Dick manages the homes, and Veronica works at the facility as a registered nurse.
Over the past 30 years, Pacaoan has demonstrated a great sense of appreciation and loyalty to the Los Osos community. He sat on the Board of Directors at the South Bay Community Center for seven years and is currently serving as president. Pacaoan is also the immediate past president of the Los Osos Rotary Club, where he has been a member for six years.
He now heads up several Rotary events, including a cleanup effort at the South Bay Community Center and the second annual Grandparents Day event, and he is helping initiate the Bay-Osos Filipino Community Association, a local organization that supports cultural and educational programs.
Pacaoan recently helped bring a choir group from the Philippines to sing in the annual California International Choral Festival and Competition. Pacaoan has been an active member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church for more than 20 years. He has served on the Parish Council and has been selected as a member of its Finance Council.
The South Bay Community Center will honor Pacaoan at 6 p.m. Jan. 27. The event is open to the public. To reserve a seat, call the South Bay Chamber of Commerce, 528-4884. Tickets are $35 per person.