San Diego, CA: The Neighborhood Market Association and the Chaldean community at large have named Papa Doug Manchester as recipient of the Shepherd of Humanity Award, which is given in recognition of an individual’s extraordinary contributions to the Chaldean-Christian community globally. The award was presented to Papa Doug at NMA’s annual banquet, held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt on Feb. 20, 2015. Other honorees that evening included Voices of Humanity recipients John Carroll, CW 6 news reporter, and Richard Allyn, CBS 8 news reporter; and Retailer of the Year, presented to the Arabo Family.
The banquet brings together retailers, suppliers, government representatives and community leaders to celebrate NMA’s accomplishments. The event also recognizes association members and public officials for their outstanding service to the industry and community.
“The spiritual and community passion Papa Doug has consistently shown to the Chaldean community, and the humanitarian efforts we have received from U-T San Diego, have helped protect and promote our security and interests throughout the world, said Mark Arabo, NMA president and national spokesman for the Iraqi Chaldean Christian community. “The Shepherd of Humanity Award stands as an achievement for protecting not simply the Christian community, but humanity. Our community has recognized the Shepherd of Humanity winners as more than just humanitarians, but as angels on Earth. We’re honored to recognize Papa Doug as the first recipient of this award in the last eight years.”
NMA is a nonprofit industry organization with 2,300 business members, headquartered in San Diego with multiple offices throughout California. The organization, founded in 1995, was originally called the Chaldean Grocers’ Association and was modeled after other ethnically-based grocer organizations. In 1996, the organization changed its name to the San Diego Merchants Association in hopes of promoting inclusiveness. In 2001, the organization changed its name again to Independent Grocers and Convenience Stores and began accepting members from outside California. In 2007, the organization merged with the California Beverage Merchants, creating the Neighborhood Market Association.
“NMA is dedicated to the well-being of not only its members, but the public at large,” said Arabo. “As a nonprofit organization and members of the community, we work to assist in the betterment of groups and individuals, both here in San Diego and throughout the world.”
NMA’s Arabo founded the Minority Humanitarian Foundation to establish a safe passage for those needing to leave Iraq, and provide humanitarian aid to those who wish to stay in the country. Since its founding, the nonprofit has made contact with 70,000 Chaldeans who fled from Mosul and surrounding cities when ISIS stormed the region in July 2014.
“I am truly honored and sincerely humbled that the Neighborhood Market Association has named me for the Shepherd of Humanity award,” said Papa Doug Manchester. “It’s even more humbling to learn that I am the first non-Iraqi Christian to receive a nomination, much less the award itself, and I am particularly honored to follow in the very formidable footsteps of former Sen. Wadie Deddeh and Bishop Jammo.”
Manchester added, “As a publisher, I believe we must serve as a voice for the people and for the community in order to inform, educate and engage people to be inspired to take action for the better of the community. Our job is not only to inform the community on what is taking place locally, but also address national and international issues that are taking place from around the world, in order to elevate public attention and awareness. We are blessed to live in a country in which we can express freedom of speech and free will; however, we must stand up for and protect those who do not have a voice.”