Mayor Jim Orr and Commissioner Mike Brownsberger presented the proclamation to Dr. Andres Apostol and Dr. Sergio Cruz. Apostol said that Dr. Auturo Montellano was unable to attend due to babysitting duties in St. Louis.
Apostol accepted the proclamation on behalf of the late Dr. Frank Esparrago, his fellow physicians, their wives and their families. Cruz said Dr. Victor Occeno was absent due to poor health and having returned to the Philippines.
"We profoundly appreciate the mayor and the city council for this distinct honor," Cruz said. "In 1970, there was a desperate need for medical practitioners. We helped fill the void and rejuvenated the hospital diagnostics and inpatient care.
"We thank the people for their cooperation and appreciation of our practices. We thank the Vincentian Sisters who hired us to bring us to Monett, and we thank Cox for incorporating our practices for the last 10 years."
Orr thanked the doctors for choosing to retire in Monett and remain a part of the community.
The proclamation follows:
Whereas, the City Council of the City of Monett, Missouri wishes to honor the service and dedication of a group of physicians that emigrated to Monett from the Philippines and provided exemplary service to Monett and the surrounding area for 40 years. Those physicians, Dr. Frank Esparrago, Dr. Sergio Cruz, Dr. Andres Apostol, Dr. Victor Occeno and Dr. Arturo H. Montellano, established their practices with the Vincentian Sisters of St. Vincent's Hospital.
St. Vincent's Hospital had recruited the doctors to Monett as a result of the retirement of several local physicians. Dr. Esparrago, a general surgeon, came in 1970. Dr. Esparrago then recruited his classmate, internist Dr. Sergio Cruz, to join him in 1971.
Dr. Andres Apostol, a general surgeon, also came to Monett in 1971. Dr. Victor Occeno, a general surgeon, came in 1973, and Dr. Arturo Montellano, an OB-GYN, arrived in 1975. All of the physicians were graduates of the University of Santo Tomas in Manilla, Philippines; and
Whereas, the Monett Historical Society is featuring an exhibit highlighting the contributions of these physicians and their families to Monett; and
Whereas, the Monett community has benefitted significantly from the physicians' contributions; and
Whereas, their dedicated service to medicine has touched the lives of countless patients and families; and
Whereas, the City Council of Monett urges members of the community to express their gratitude and appreciation in remembrance of these individuals and their families and to honor their service to our community;
Now, therefore, the City Council hereby issues this proclamation in acknowledgement of the excellent medical service demonstrated to the residents of Monett and the surrounding community by this outstanding group of doctors.
/s/ James Orr, mayor; Jerry Dierker, commissioner; Mike Brownsberger, commissioner.
Following the meeting, a reception was offered in appreciation of the recognition by the doctors and their families. Pianono with vanilla cream or mocha caramel icing, bibingka sweet rice cakes and a mackapuno tart with coconut were among the Philippine delicacies offered that had been prepared by Dr. and Mrs. Apostol.