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PCI to Honor Local Heroes at Hands Across Borders Gala

Published 10/12/2016 by Global Communities

Local philanthropists, Southwest Airlines among those being honored for humanitarian work

SAN DIEGO–– At its 27th annual Hands Across Borders gala next month, San Diego-based nonprofit PCI (Project Concern International) will celebrate local heroes who are making a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people in our community.

PCI is honoring Southwest Airlines with its 2016 Corporate Leadership Award.  The airline is well known throughout the country as a generous community member, and that’s no different here in San Diego.  There’s a reason Southwest has a big heart on all of its planes. As a corporate partner and sponsor of PCI for more than 17 years, Southwest has helped touch the hearts and lives of millions around the world.  Under the leadership of their Manager of Corporate Community Affairs, Lidia Martinez, Southwest has donated essential in-kind resources to PCI’s work, as well as facilitated significant introductions to partners, media, and other like-minded organizations.

PCI’s founder, Dr. James Turpin will be at the gala to present Del Mar residents Larry and Mary Lynn Weitzen with the PCI Founder’s Award for their lifelong support of the organization’s humanitarian projects.  The Weitzens have been friends of PCI since its earliest days and started two of the organization’s biggest fundraising events: the Hands Across Borders gala and the Robert F. Driver Memorial Golf Tournament.  Today, Larry is a board member and valued advisor and Mary Lynn is helping one of our local Women Empowered groups learn jewelry making as a means of sustaining their households.  The Weitzens credit the time they’ve spent in the field with PCI as the inspiration for their continued dedication.  Hearing the stories of PCI beneficiaries andHe understanding the deep and lasting impact of PCI’s work moves them to stay invested in the organization.

PCI’s Hero Award will be presented to Gregoria (Goya) Quiroz, a volunteer community health worker who has volunteered her services with PCI Mexico for over 30 years.  She was one of the pioneers of PCI’s Well Baby Clinics and a driving force behind PCI’s success raising TB cure rates along the border to over 90%.  Volunteers like Goya are the heart of PCI. Her dedication has saved many lives and provided health and hope to thousands of Tijuana’s most vulnerable people.

Julie Klaus, Elizabeth Roemer and Maria Decker are chairing the gala that will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.  For tickets and information, please visit


PCI is a global health, development, and humanitarian organization working in 14 countries. It was founded in San Diego 55 years ago after a local doctor was inspired by saving two children’s lives while volunteering in Tijuana. The organization is dedicated to saving lives and building healthy communities around the globe, benefiting over 19 million people annually in Asia, Africa and the Americas.  In San Diego, PCI operates maternal and child health programs, anti-trafficking and Women Empowered initiatives, and chronic disease prevention and management programs. For more information, please visit