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From left, Phong Vo, Somxai Vue, Rep. Dennis Apuan, D-Colorado Springs, Karen Nakandakare and Ved Nanda pose with their awards during the Asian American Hero of Colorado awards ceremony on May 15, 2010 at Saigon Landing in Greenwood Village, Colo. (By Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com)

[More photos from the event]


2010 Asian American Heroes of Colorado honored

Second annual awards ceremony highlight local Asian Americans who balance careers, community

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Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com

Kerry Hada, a recipient of the 2009 award, speaks during the Asian American Hero of Colorado awards ceremony on May 15, 2010 at Saigon Landing in Greenwood Village, Colo.


Photo gallery from the event

Asian-American heroes honored May 18, 2009

GREENWOOD VILLAGE – The second annual Asian American Heroes of Colorado awards ceremony took place on May 15 at Saigon Landing.


The awards, according to organizers, highlight five local Asian Americans who have demonstrated "outstanding character in their daily lives, balancing successful careers and community involvements."


This year's recipients included University of Denver law professor Ved Nanda, Colorado Asian Cultural Heritage Center Founder Phong Vo, CH2M Hill Diversity Program Manager Karen Nakandakare, former Hmong American Association of Colorado President Somxai Vue and Rep. Dennis Apuan, D-Colorado Springs.


"A hero is defined as someone with courage and strength," 2009 award recipient Kerry Hada said during the ceremony. "But to that, also, you heroes have exhibited the leadership and qualities that make you the forefront of your respective communities, but it's a bigger picture for all of us as Asians. We all need to move forward."


In her speech, Nakandakare echoed the sentiments of the other recipients, saying she felt honored to receive this recognition.


"It's very meaningful to be recognized by a collegue who appreciates the work that I did," Nakandakare said. "You don't realize how big that is to take that step, to take that effort to recognize others.


"A lot of us who are being recognized today and recognized in the past, you know, a lot of our work we do because we have support and when we ask for help, people help out."


The awards were co-sponsored by Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network, Asian Chamber of Commerce, OCA Colorado, Indian Association of Colorado, NAAAP Colorado, APABA Colorado, Mile-Hi JACL and Asian Avenue magazine.

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