Please join us in recognizing Alex “A.V.” Bountharath as the
recipient of CBHA’s Firestarter Award.
Alex Bountharath, known to most as “A-V,” began his career
with CBHA in 2012 as an optician apprentice. He enjoyed working with patients,
preparing them for eye exams, and helping them select eyeglasses or contact
lenses. Within a couple of years, A.V. was promoted to the role of Optometry
Business Manager, where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations
of the optometry department.
While A.V. still helps out with Eye Care and also fills in as site director
when needed, his focus has taken another direction as he accepted another
role at CBHA last spring: Community Relations Coordinator. “I grew
up in this community, was raised in Connell, so being able to come back
to be part of the community and help make changes in a positive direction
– for me, that’s the best part of working at CBHA,” says A.V.
As the only person in the organization who speaks Lao, A.V.’s ability
to connect with and translate for the Laotian community is particularly
valuable. “My parents are from Laos,” A.V. says, “A
lot of Laotian people live in this area. When people I know are here from
the Lao community, I’m often asked to translate the Laotian language.
I can easily connect with employees, families, and the community, and
that’s why I took this position – to be able to influence
CBHA’s interaction with the entire community.”
Wahluke site director, Carlos Ruiz, notes that A.V.’s willingness
to go well above and beyond the call of duty is one trait that sets him
apart, “A.V. will work from morning until night on the day of an
event, and sacrifices a lot to make an event as successful as possible.
He’s made an impact on the quality of CBHA events, and I appreciate
his involvement, his leadership, and his problem-solving skills.”
AV is especially excited about CBHA’s outreach program that strives
to bring awareness of CBHA services to people who work in fields. A.V.
says, “We go to them. We put up a booth and inform people about
CBHA and what’s offered. We provide resources and educate, but also
do vision screenings, blood pressure checks, glucose levels, and we let
people know that if they need transportation, we can pick them up, and
connect them with insurance if they don’t have it. It’s the
fact that we are able to connect with someone who might not be familiar
with our organization – that’s what drives me.”
Despite recognizing that his ability to fill many roles is valuable at
CBHA, A.V. is surprised to be named a Firestarter. “I am very blessed,
and I feel very appreciated for the things that I do for CBHA. I would
not expect this to happen, so I’m grateful. It means a lot that
a peer noticed something in me and nominated me. It’s really a highlight
of the many good experiences I’ve had at CBHA.”