A tribute to a special sister
by Mila Glodava
My sister Melecia Garcia celebrates her birthday on Dec. 4th. I feel a need to give her a special tribute this year, because she will be retiring soon from her work at Bolling Air Force Base, where she received numerous accolades for outstanding work. Family and friends call her Lily, but my children call her with affection as Ninang Lily, which is how I will refer to her in this tribute.
Why do I feel a need to give her a tribute? Not only because she's been a great daughter, sister, and aunt to the Garcia family, she also has has many outstanding qualities as friend, a worker, and a humanitarian. As a humanitarian, Ninang Lily has supported Metro Infanta Foundation from its inception. Without her incredible support, I don't think we could have had such an impact to our beloved town during their times of need. Indeed, she has been one of the most generous donors of the Foundation and more.
But she is more than just a donor to the Foundation. She is arguably a very accomplished woman. I think of her not only as a trailblazer, being a woman civil engineer, but also as a very spiritual person whose love for the church is unquestionable.
Although Garcia received an offer to work in the Philippines Department of Public Works shortly after graduation, her desire to help her church proved stronger, and decided to teach physics and mathematics at Mt. Carmel High School in Casiguran, Quezon, which was then run by Carmelite Father Alan Rieger. In addition she used her engineering skills as supervisor of the construction project of the parish church in Maria Aurora. This experience brought her back to the reason she became an engineer -- to do construction work -- and soon was working with other construction companies. A registered professional engineer in the Philippines since 1972, Ninang Lily ventured into subcontracting for construction projects with the Philippine Military Bases.
In 1973, Ninang Lily immigrated to the United States and landed her first job as assistant office engineer with the Bechtel company, a construction consultant to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). She was promoted to Office Engineer at the Resident Engineer Field Office. She also worked for the Frank Basil Inc./A-E Firm as an estimator.
Ninang Lily received recognition for outstanding performance in her line of duty include three certificates from Becthel for her dedicated service in the construction of the Metro Subway in Washington, DC. Her vital role was preparing construction estimate, reviewing submittals, preparing and negotiating proposed change order. "I am proud of the part I played int eh construction of Metro Subway," she said, "specifically the the stations at Takoma Park , Silver Spring , Fort Totten, Catholic University , Brookland, Huntington and Eisenhower."
Bolling Air Force Base was equally impressed with her work ethics and dedication with the 11th Wing. In recognition, Ninang Lily received in 1999 Air Force Category II Award, and Air Force Design Excellence Award. In 2003 she received the Civil Engineers Mission Support Group and Volunteer Awards.
But most of all, she is proudest as project engineer of the following:
1) Potomac Shoreline: from design to construction completion (cradle to grave Potomac Shoreline,
2) McChord Street: realignment of the disjointed street,
3) Brookley Ave: turning it from industrial looking street to a boulevard-like avenue aligned with Washingtonian lights, trees, landscape
4) MacDill Boulevard: reconfiguration
5) Chappie James Blvd.: widening
6) Arnold Avenue: Aligned with lights and landscape
In addition, Ninang Lily has worked tirelessly as a volunteer in many areas. A charter member of the Philippine American Washington engineer (PAMWE), she received recognition for outstanding service as treasurer for three successive years (1981-1983). She also served as president of the Mt. Carmel Guild, which funded much needed repairs and renovation in the Carmelite monastery in Washington, DC. She also serves as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at Bolling Air Force Base and the national Shrine.
I hope that you will find the above as a fitting and well-deserved tribute to one of our major supporters.
To Ninang Lily, we give you our love, our thanks and our prayers for your lifetime achievements and contribution to society.
Mabuhay ka, Ninang Lily.