LONG BEACH — The annual Kimi Sugiyama Human Service Award is given in recognition of outstanding creativity and self-sacrifice in extending God’s love to others. It was established by the family of the late Kimi Sugiyama, who used her law training and her facility in language on behalf of Japanese workers.
She advocated for labor rights and human rights on behalf of Japanese immigrants who had little or no understanding of the English language and American labor rights.
The 2015 recipients of the Sugiyama Human Service Award are Barbara Lai of Downey and Randy Tubbs of Long Beach.
Lai exemplifies caring and active leadership both in her church and in her community. She is a member of Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, where she is involved in numerous lead roles and committees, including participation on mission trips to Mexico; the annual CROP Walk; co-chairing the Megumi Kai Ministry; spearheading the Alternative Christmas Market; serving as a choir member and liturgist; being a fellowship server; and teaching at Vacation Bible School.
She currently serves as an elder on Session, the governing group of her church. Most recently, she served on the interim pastor nominating committee, a time-consuming process that successfully culminated in the hiring of the church’s current pastor. Lai also volunteers annually to help serve at the Long Beach Japanese Cultural Center’s annual fundraising festival.
Lai’s professional skills as a speech and language therapist have been put to great use, not only in her own classroom, but also in speaking to and assisting newly hired special education teachers in Los Angeles County. She is a former Girl Scout leader, a loving and caring member of her own family, and a loving grandmother.
Lai also serves as a foster parent to a special-needs child who has resided with her since infancy and whom she and her husband have raised to become the well-rounded, outgoing adult that she is.
Tubbs is one of the parish visitors at the church. As such, he regularly visits hospitalized church family members, as well as shut-ins and those in care centers, always mindful of ways in which to serve their needs.
Tubbs teaches Sunday school to high school and elementary school students and volunteers at the Vacation Bible School and all other activities during the summer at the church. He is a member of the church’s Aka Taru group of taiko drummers and plays at a variety of community events, including the Long Beach Japanese Cultural Center’s annual festival.
Elsewhere in the community, he has served as a senior high advisor for 34 years. He coaches youth soccer, has coached girls’ basketball teams, and is scorekeeper at Muir Middle School. He also coaches Little League and T-ball for the younger students. In his spare time, he is a substitute teacher.
Monthly, Tubbs delivers and serves chicken dinners to Community Outreach in Action, a Long Beach facility for the homeless. He also has helped build several homes for Habitat for Humanity. In short, Tubbs epitomizes service to others.