Diamond BarHigh School

Main Menu Toggle

Singarajah Selected As City's Young Hero

Story By Richard Irwin, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Diamond Bar honored its heroes Thursday during its community day at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. The fair honored three residents who have helped shape the lives in the community.

These local heroes work tirelessly to make life better in Diamond Bar. They have volunteered many hours of community service without any payment.

Tony Yi Torng is a great example. This community leader has lent his organizational skills to many groups in the city. Time freely given despite a demanding job as a project manager and technical fellow with Boeing in Huntington Beach.

“I’m a Buddhist, so I believe that good works come back to us as good karma,” Torng said before the community reception.

The mechanical engineer has made a difference in the city. He chaired the planning commission from 2009-2011. Torng also volunteers on the traffic and transportation commission.

If you’ve seen all the wonderful new buildings at Mt. SAC, thank Torng for part of it. He also chairs the citizens oversight committee that watches over more than $575 million in construction bonds raised in Measure R and RR.

“The money has been well spent, making Mt. SAC one of the best community colleges in the state,” Torng said.

While two sons, Perry and Jerry, attended Diamond Bar High, Torng volunteered with Walnut Valley Unified, serving on the high school interview panel. He was also a board member of the Chinese American Parent Association and the Brahma Foundation.

Torng shares his expertise in mechanical engineering while mentoring the high school’s robotics team.

“One of my favorite events has been the Lunar New Year celebration,” said our hero, who has chaired the grand event for three years. “So many people enjoy the lunar celebration every year.”

A board member of the DB Chinese Association since 2001, he served as president from 2003-2005.

If all that weren’t enough, our hero was nominated by Kathleen Newe with the Friends of the Diamond Bar Library. A Friend since 2001, Torng has been a board member as well as president in 2008.

Since 2006, Torng has co-chaired the amazing Wine Soiree fundraising event for the local branch of the Los Angeles County Library.

“We’ve raised more than $350,000 that goes directly to the Diamond Bar Library,” Torng noted.

Bea McMillan is Diamond Bar’s senior hero. She’s the wife of Pastor Larry McMillen at St. Denis Parish, where she has been very active for more than 20 years.

A member of the women’s council, McMillan chairs the decoration committee and had been a long-time member of the bereavement committee at the local church.

“I couldn’t serve on the bereavement committee after our 35-year-old daughter died from a brain aneurysm. She donated her organs and we received a letter from a woman who received her heart, thanking us for saving her life,” McMillan said. “Everyone should sign up to donate their organs.”

Now McMillan volunteers her time with the Donate Life Foundation. She is also a volunteer cuddler, holding babies in the intensive care unit at Citrus Valley Medical Center. She knits caps for premature babies.

Civic duties include serving as an inspector at the local election precinct for more than 40 years. She’s also been the secretary for the Mt. SAC Relays for many years.

“She leads by example by helping and praying for others, and has saintly patience as exemplified by her 57-year toleration of her husband,” Pastor McMillan wrote in a nomination.

“Mrs. McMillan is one of the most giving and caring persons I have ever met,” agreed Richard Malooly of Diamond Bar in his nomination form. “Bea has traveled to the state prison in the Central Valley to chaperone children so they could visit their mothers, who were incarcerated. A bus trip of over 12 hours.”

She said she was surprised by the unexpected honor. She was going to take her three grandsons with her to the county fair.

Diamond Bar High senior Atharshna Singarajah was selected as the city’s young hero. She was nominated by city Councilman Jack Tanaka and his wife, Wanda.

“She has the heart and commitment to serve our community,” Jack Tanaka explained. “Atharshna is always positive and works very hard to get things done.”

The Tanakas mentor the local high school Leo Club, where Atharshna served as president of the 365 member club. The Brahma was also president of Leo District 4L4, supervising 10 Leo Clubs in the area.

“Out of thousands of Leos around the world, she was picked as the International Leo of the Year in 2012,” the councilman said. “Atharshna has been a wonderful volunteer since middle school.”

She had been named the outstanding student in the sixth and seventh grades at Chaparral Middle School. The young woman received Diamond Bar’s outstanding volunteer award in 2011.

In high school, the young hero also served as band librarian and section leader. She was also a Link Crew leader.

“This year, Atharshna was in charge of collecting donations for veterans and their families, sold bracelets to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy, donated to Canine Companions and collected toys for the Spark of Love,” Jack noted.

She said she was honored to receive the recognition at the L.A. County Fair. The Brahma couldn’t wait to wave to friends while riding in the community day parade through the fairgrounds.

“The most important thing in life is experience. While education is an important factor, nothing beats the quality and benefits you get from experience,” she wrote in a senior profile.

“I believe that every person needs to live to his or her fullest and take advantage of every opportunity, because as of now there is only one life a person has, and if one decides to throw their life away then there’s no getting it back,” she concluded.