People and companies that have shown leadership in improving the lives of Asian-Americans in Iowa are being honored this weekend. Kim Poam is executive director of the Iowa Asian Alliance which is giving out its first AdmirAsian Awards. Poam says a Des Moines-based truck accessories-maker is the corporate winner. Dee Zee Manufacturing hires refugees and immigrants, offers classes in English as a Second Language and even citizenship classes. The company also offers a flexible leave of absence policy to accommodate refugees who want to visit their homelands. Poam says the “Iowa Asian Alliance Person of the Year” is a posthumous award to Dr. David Wang of Panora. The dentist was a Chinese immigrant who died in August during a rescue on Lake Panorama in Guthrie County. Dr. Wang was out boating and saw a five-year-old boy fall off a boat. Wang jumped and saved the boy but drown in the process. It’s the third life he’d saved in his lifetime. Among the other award-winners, a young woman from Des Moines is claiming the “Outstanding Youth” award. Poam says Linda Sayavongchanh is a basketball player at Drake University who defies the stereotypical vision of young Asian Americans as only being bookworms. Poam says Sayavongchanh is an outstanding athlete and scholar. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Saturday in Des Moines at 11 A.M. For more information, surf to “www.iowaasianalliance.com”.
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