Firestarter Spotlight - Alex "A.V." Bountharath

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.”