Awards given for support of Chaldeans

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At a time when Iraqi Christians are a major target for persecution by Islamic terrorists, San Diego’s Neighborhood Market Association is honoring three local individuals and a family for their efforts on behalf of the global Chaldean community.
The awards will be presented Friday night at the trade group’s 19th annual banquet, which is expected to be attended by about 1,000 people, including public officials and community leaders.

“Our future and its path are often determined by the choices we make in difficult times,” said Mark Arabo, the group’s president. At “this NMA banquet, we choose to commemorate these individuals for their belief in humanity even amongst the darkness that has plagued much of the Middle East.”

The NMA, a nonprofit with roots in the Chaldean community, will present its Shepherd of Humanity Award to “Papa” Doug Manchester, publisher of U-T San Diego, for “invaluable contributions to the betterment of Christianity and humanity globally.”

“Papa Doug was chosen for this award because he is someone who has contributed his life and work to those afflicted by the tragedy of a genocide in Iraq,” Arabo said in a statement.

Manchester said he was honored and humbled to receive the award.

“As a publisher, I believe we must serve as a voice for the people and for the community in order to inform, educate and engage people to be inspired to take action for the better of the community,” Manchester said. “Our job is not only to inform the community on what is taking place locally, but also address national and international issues that are taking place from around the world, in order to elevate public attention and awareness.”

Reporters John Carroll of XETV-Channel 6 and Richard Allyn of KFMB-Channel 8 will be given the Voice of Humanity Award, for “their tireless efforts in bringing awareness to the plight and suffering of religious minorities throughout the Middle East.”

The third award, for Retailer of the Year, is given to one of the group’s members. This year, the Arabo family is the recipient. “They are recognized for setting a positive example in the industry and community,” Arabo said in the statement. Arabo said that his family has owned and operated markets in California since 1979.

The board of directors and a designated committee of members chose the Arabo family as winners, said NMA spokesman Lundon Attisha. One winner is Arabo’s late father, and the others are his cousins.