Lily Yuzon left the Philippines in 1965, determined to earn a doctorate in the United States.
Fifty-one years later, she has been awarded the Americanism Medal by the Daughters of the American Revolution. It is given to a naturalized citizen who has strived to help others grow acclimated to life in our nation.
And it is given rarely — the Ohio Society DAR last conferred the medal three years ago.
Yuzon took the stage Friday at the organization’s state conference in Columbus. She was bestowed the Americanism Medal in front of roughly 275 celebrants.
The honor came due to the work of a close friend. Diane Eswine, former Amherst auditor and longtime DAR member, nominated Yuzon to recognize her leadership skills, trustworthiness, patriotism, and service. She was sponsored by sponsored by the Sally De Forest Chapter in Norwalk.
“I was really honored and I was even surprised that Diane would consider me to recommend me for this award. I am very happy,” Yuzon said.
Eswine noted her friend’s contributions as a founder of the Philippine-American Society in Lorain County as her focus on education, preservation, and patriotism: “Lily has been deeply involved in all three of these areas in the Lorain County community,” she told the News-Times.
Supporting Yuzon’s award were letters of recommendation by Philippine-American Society president Maria Escuro, Jane Norton of the Lorain Historical Society and the Lorain Palace Theatre, Madeline Jaworski, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Yuzon first came to the U.S. to further her education, arriving in Hoboken, N.J.
“I went there so I could further my education because I had my masters in pharmaceutical chemistry in the Philipines. I was hoping to do my doctorate in chemistry, but I met my husband, who was an intern in medicine,” she said.
She found herself working as a medical technologist at the same hospital as Dr. Florencio Yuzon. “Instead I got my MD, my Marriage Degree,” she laughed.
The couple moved to Ohio in 1974, first settling in Lorain and moving six years later to Amherst.
Florencio started a gastroenterology practice and Lily worked in his office until retirement just last year. During that time, she returned to school at Case Western Reserve University, finishing an executive LBA degree.
Today, Yuzon continues to do charity work and fundraising, serving on the board of Lorain County Community College and as a member of the Rotary Club.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Courtesy photo Pictured are Diane Eswine, Americanism Committee state chair Mary Ellen Atwood, and Lily Yuzon at the Daughter of the American Revolution state convention in Columbus.