Back in 1993, Victor Georgino and Dave Augustine were walking down East Olive Avenue in downtown Burbank.
As the two men turned onto North 1st Street, Georgino, a real estate broker and developer who brought the AMC Theaters to Burbank, and Augustine, a real estate investor and local philanthropist, crossed paths with a man of Asian descent.
The man, as wide-eyed and excited as a tourist from Iowa who finds himself seated next to a table of A-list celebrities at the Polo Lounge, reached out for Augustine’s hand.
“My family were refugees, and when we first came to America and I was a young boy, you helped us. You gave us an apartment and made sure we had food,” said the man.
He went on to tell Augustine that, although his parents had since died, their family never forgot his kindness and were always so grateful to him.
“Because of the help you gave us, we found a wonderful life here and my siblings and I were all able to go to college and have become successful,” he said as he heaped thanks upon thanks on Augustine.
“That story completely sums up Dave Augustine,” said Sue Georgino who, on behalf of her husband who was nursing a cold, presented the 2023 Hands On, Hearts In Award to the Dave Augustine family at this past week’s annual Home Again Los Angeles gala.
“Dave has always been there to help those in need, quietly, without anyone knowing, and asking for nothing in return,” said Georgino as she handed the award to Augustine’s grandchildren, Samantha Singer and Sophia Augustine, who accepted the honor. “It’s who he is, and it is what he has [instilled] in his children and grandchildren.”
The evening, staged under the theme of California Dreamin,’ also saw HALA’s annual Impact Award bestowed on the city of Glendale. Honored for working with the Burbank-based HALA in providing more than $2 million in pass through funds and launching rental relief and rapid rehousing programs, the city has also funded security deposits to help hundreds of unhoused families in need.
The award, presented by HALA CEO Albert Hernandez was accepted on behalf of the city of Glendale by Mayor Dan Brotman and City Councilwoman Paula Devine.
Billed as HALA’s largest fundraising event of the year, the eighth annual gala raised funds that will assist families experiencing homelessness gain independence by transitioning into permanent housing and employment.
“We chose the theme of California Dreamin’ for our 2023 gala, which was co-chaired by Deborah Weirick and Carol Nunez, because it is our dream to provide families in need with their dream, to have a place to call their own,” said Hernandez.
By the time the sun had begun its dip into the west, more than 400 HALA supporters had filled the courtyard adjacent to the Jewel City’s municipal services building on the campus of the Glendale Civic Auditorium.
Along with Glendale dignitaries, the evening was also attended by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Burbank Vice Mayor Nick Schultz, Councilmembers Nikki Pérez and Zizette Mullins, City Clerk Kimberley Clark, Treasurer Krystle Palmer and former Mayor Jess Talamantes.
Also among the notables in attendance accompanying Dave Augustine and his wife, Pat Augustine, as they arrived were family members including Chris, Natalie and Paul Augustine, and Charlie Singer.
Others whose commitment made the evening a success included HALA board chair Patrick Garney and board members Joylene Wagner, Jessa Freemyer, Alex Parajon, Romik Hacobian, Laurie Krattiger, Steve Mora, Amanda Adams, Todd Leonard, Crystal Nathaniel, Brian Volpei, Dr. William Wang and David Zuckerman.
Since 2010, HALA has worked with local families to help them achieve lasting independence. Partnering with a network of local governments, interfaith congregations and volunteers, they also provide safe shelter, meals and support services such as counseling and job readiness for those in the Burbank, North Hollywood, Glendale and Eagle Rock areas.
The organization’s day-to-day work is handled by Hernandez and staff members Jose “J.P”. Pentecostes, Carrie Prado, Krystal Lee, Lisa Partida, Renee Johnson, Chaquitta Boyce, Tatiana Garcia, Selin Petrosians, Alize Plancarte and Bryon Prado, whose dedication also attributed to last week’s festive fundraiser.
For more information about the work of and support opportunities with HALA, visit HomeAgainLA.org.
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563-1007.
First published in the May 6 print issue of the Burbank Leader.