Pasadena Chamber to Recognize Pasadena Federal Credit Union, Thorson Buick & GMC and William Opel at Inaugural Gala July 11th at the Westin Pasadena

Recognition given to corporate citizens and individuals for contributions to local community

Thorson Buick & GMC and Pasadena Federal Credit Union will be recognized as Corporate Citizen of the Year for 2014 at the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Gala on Friday, July 11th. William Opel of Huntington Medical Research Institute is being recognized with the Directors Award for his community involvement and special contribution to Pasadena. The hosted cocktail reception and silent auction begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Westin Pasadena. Dinner and the festive program begin at 7:30pm.

Pasadena Federal Credit Union Corporate Citizen of the Year, Small Business

Pasadena Federal Credit Union (PFCU) is a non-profit financial cooperative owned by more than 11,000 members and established by municipal employees in 1935. PFCU routinely provides valuable financial literacy training to thousands of individuals and families of all ages throughout the San Gabriel Valley each year. Some of the organizations the Credit Union serves are the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Union Station Homeless Services, the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA, Rosemary Children’s Services, Art Center College of Design, Foothill Employment Training Center, the Flintridge Center, and many more.

Pasadena Federal Credit Union supports events such as the Earth Day Festival, Fall Festival, The Humane Society’s Wiggle Waggle Walk, Police and Fire department events and many more. The staff prepares and serves meals to clients at Union Station Homeless Services four times a year. Each year the Credit Union thanks local public servants and non-profits while also supporting one of the largest organizations it serves: The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles by purchasing cookies from each Girl Scout troop with new PFCU Troop Accounts. PFCU gives the cookies to local first responders and service organizations in the area.

Thorson Buick & GMC of Pasadena Corporate Citizen of the Year, Large Business

Family-owned, Chamber member Thorson Buick & GMC of Pasadena has been serving the Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley area for more than 30 years. President and owner Tom George has lead Thorson Buick & GMC to always be aware of the needs in the community.

This year, Thorson Buick & GMC donated vehicles to the Pasadena & Temple City police departments for their Baker to Vegas run. Thorson re-launched their “Classic Car Show” in an effort to get the younger generations excited about car design and history while raising interest and funds for a local charity. Earlier this year they supported the Pasadena City College Foundation and the “Dreamkeeper’s Fund”. Thorson Buick & GMC also sponsored the San Marino Classic Car Show and the LAPD Car Show. Employees of Thorson Motor Center volunteer to serve on Mission Trips to Europe, Emergency Adoption Services, high school coaching, Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics, to name a few.

William Opel Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Directors Award

Dr. William Opel began his career with a decade of laboratory work studying radiation effects on the nervous system, and then became program director of a multi-institutional NIH-sponsored cell biology project. He then moved into administration. He combined three research groups affiliated with Huntington Memorial Hospital, a tertiary medical center and teaching hospital, to form the Huntington Medical Research Institutes. Dr. Opel has organized HMRI into four main programs: neural engineering, brain mapping, molecular medicine and clinical research. Dr. Opel also has worked to expand HMRI’s joint postdoctoral fellowship programs with Caltech. He also launched one of the country’s first clinical magnetic resonance programs. Dr. Opel has led HMRI for 50 years.
In addition to his work at HMRI, Dr. Opel is past-president of the Pasadena City College Foundation and a board member of the Pasadena Bioscience Center and the California Biomedical Research Association.
This year, the Chamber celebrates the installation of Ben Green, CEO of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, as Chair of the Board for 2014-15. We also install new officers and Board members for the year. The evening will feature the presentation of a scholarship award to two graduating Pasadena City College students and emancipated foster youth who will continue their education at a four-year college or university.

Chamber members contribute thousands of dollars’ worth of valuable and unique services, products and treats for the silent auction. This year, items include exciting and exotic travel packages, golf outings, event and sports tickets, dinners, opportunities to explore local attractions and VIP treatment at local wonders.

Corporate tables cost $1750. Individual tickets to the Inaugural Gala cost $175. Anyone wanting information can call the Chamber at (626) 795-3355 or visit the website at to purchase tickets online.

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association is a professional business organization. Since the earliest days of Pasadena, the Chamber has played a major role in the development of this internationally renowned city. Since 1888, when the organization was founded as the Board of Trade, the Chamber’s primary purpose has been the enhancement of both the business climate and the quality of life in Pasadena. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce serves 1450 members.

July 3, 2014

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