West Covina Chamber: Part II

I’m sure there’s more to this Chamber story than I’ve been able to find out today. Part of the frustration is that none of the board members I called wanted to comment or returned my calls seeking comment.

The crux of the story is that the only two full-time staff members for the West Covina Chamber of Commerce were fired last week. The firing came just eight days after those same two employees, along with a part-time employee, filed a temporary restraining order against board Member Luis Chacon.

Chacon did not return calls seeking comment.

Chacon’s name has appeared in the news before. Here is an article that ran in 2006 when his estranged wife was named as Chamber President:

West Covina resident prevails after tough life Chacon named president of Chamber of Commerce
San Gabriel Valley Tribune ( West Covina , CA) – Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Author/Byline: Christina L. Esparza Staff Writer
Section: Local
WEST COVINA – At 36-years-old, Carolina Chacon is a successful Realtor, community activist and one of the most respected women in town.

Her determination and head for business helped her become the West Covina Chamber of Commerce’s board president, and her heart led her to sit on the board of the East Valley Community Health Center.

“I know myself,” she said. “When I do something, I do it 100 percent.”

While Chacon has a charmed life with an adoring husband, five successful children and a thriving business, life started rough.

Chacon grew up in Compton, where almost every day she got beat up by other girls. At 15, she gave birth to her first child, and for a time was homeless.

Her determination was evidenced when only two hours after giving birth, she hopped on a bus to school to take a final exam.

The wisdom her father, Leopoldo Ruiz, instilled in her never left, she said. He always urged her to pursue an education, and to always treat others with dignity and respect.

It wasn’t unusual for her to find complete strangers who were hungry and homeless eating at the dinner table, she said.

“His philosophy was so simple,” Chacon said. “If you stay busy always finding a way to help other people, you don’t have to worry about yourself.”

Chacon joined the military, where she met Luis Chacon , her husband. He was a commanding officer and she was a private in the U.S. Army.

“I admired her strong personality,” Luis Chacon said. “She’s a combination of very unique attributes I haven’t seen in anyone else … she’s an awesome individual and I wish many communities, if not all, had someone like her.”

When she got her real estate license, Chacon networked in West Covina and found herself becoming more involved in the city she called home.

She and Luis Chacon sat on various boards and commissions, and attended several community events.

As president of the chamber, Carolina Chacon hopes to build a stronger relationship between the city and the chamber, as well as a bond between the chamber and the city’s residents.

To facilitate that, several community events will be hosted by the chamber, including the Tuesday night Farmers’ Market, and the “Taste of West Covina ” event scheduled for October.

Carolina Chacon also makes time for her children, one of whom is a certified Cordon Bleu chef who uses her talents to prepare meals for the homeless.

She wants to tell any teen mother not to see her child as a hinderance, but a reason to persevere.

“That child can keep you on track,” she said.