On May 14, 2020, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles (TECO-LA), together with Care Mission USA and the Taiwan Shihlin Electric and Engineering Corporation, hosted a ceremony where 20,000 surgical masks were donated to the Gary and Mary West PACE in San Diego, California.
Ambassador Abraham Chu, Director-General of TECO-LA; Mr. Joe Wang, Care Mission USA President; and Ms. Wendy Doo, Attorney at Law representing Chairman Emmet Hsu of the Taiwan Shihlin Electric and Engineering Corporation, attended the ceremony held at the Gary and Mary West PACE, in an effort to raise awareness and encourage local communities to join in the battle against COVID-19. The donated masks were received by Ms. Shelley Lyford, President and CEO of West Health and a commissioner on the California Commission on Aging; and Mr. Tim Lash, President of Gary and Mary West PACE in San Marcos, California. They thanked TECO-LA, Care Mission USA and Taiwan Shihlin Electric and Engineering Corporation for their generous contribution during this difficult time.
Shelley Lyford emphasized the donated 20,000 surgical masks will be used to replenish the supplies at Gary and Mary West PACE and partner organizations across the region that are stressed, running low, or simply unavailable to frontline providers and workers. Tim Lash expressed his concern for older adults since they are among the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic; the donated masks can give them and their caregivers an extra layer of protection.
Ambassador Abraham Chu remarked that San Diego County is the second largest county in California and the fifth largest county in the United States, where there are many local outstanding Taiwanese Americans, as well as successful entrepreneurs, who are willing to assist in combating COVID-19. Both Taiwan and San Diego have close ties in their economies, trade, science and technology, academia, culture and art. The ambassador hoped that the donation of surgical masks will encourage more Taiwanese Americans to show their love and help the United States fight COVID-19.
In response to the call of TECO-LA, Care Mission USA President, Joe Wang, and Taiwan Shihlin Electric and Engineering Corporation Chairman, Emmet Hsu, participated in this donation, in the spirit of “Taiwan Can Help!” and to represent Taiwan’s capability and willingness to help the international community. Care Mission USA is a Taiwanese non-profit organization that often provides aid such as clean drinking water, hot food, and blankets for the homeless in Downtown Los Angeles. Due to COVID-19, they are now assisting medical personnel by donating medical equipment. By donating surgical masks all over the US, Chairman Emmet Hsu empathized with those going through hardships and at the same time, he salutes the spirit and passion of the frontline medical staffers.
Ambassador Abraham Chu also stated that Taiwan is an important member of the international community as Taiwan is willing to share many of its valuable experiences with other countries. He mentioned Taiwan’s long overdue inclusion, as it has been excluded from the international medical and health system for many years. Originating from Wuhan, China, COVID-19 invaded the world, and regardless of Taiwan’s close proximity of the virus’ epicenter, Taiwan adopted effective anti-epidemic policies thanks to its experiences, advanced and rapid deployment, and appropriate response; one of many reasons to why Taiwan has won recognition and praise from many countries in the world. He called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to fully integrate Taiwan into relevant conferences, mechanisms and activities. Taiwan will continue to prove its significance to the international community with its practical actions and show that the world needs Taiwan and Taiwan will not be absent!
In addition to the above mentioned representatives attending the mask donation ceremony, Chief Medical Officer of San Diego County, Nick Yphantides, MD; Gary and Mary West PACE Medical Director, Ross Colt, MD; West Health Chief Medical Officer, Zia Agha, MD; West Health VP of Strategy & Successful Aging, Jon Zifferblatt, MD; Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, James Lin, MD; TECO-LA Director, Ms. Amy Wang and Deputy Director Kevin Yeh, also attended the ceremony.