Lions Club honors Sukkasem, Farrah

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY — Dr. Yuthapong Sukkasem — known as Dr. Yut to many people in Salisbury — was named the 2011 Man of the Year by the Salisbury Lions Club Tuesday night.
Sukkasem has long been involved in the community since taking over Dr. Norman Sloop’s practice in 1993 and also becoming medical director at Genesis Nursing Home in 1994. He has built a reputation of caring for his patients and their families.
Many Salisburians also know him as medical director for the Good Shepherd’s Clinic since 2004-2005.
In addition Tuesday, the Salisbury Lions Club named member Victor Farrah as its 2011 Lion of the Year.
The awards were announced during the Salisbury Lions’ 69th annual awards banquet at the Holiday Inn. The club itself is 79 years old. Guest speaker for Tuesday’s dinner was Food Lion Chairman Emeritus Ralph Ketner, who was named “Man of the Era” by the club last year.
Roughly 75 people attended the awards banquet, which included 10 past Men of the Year and 21 past Lions of the Year.
Introduced by Salisbury attorney Bill Graham, Sukkasem graduated from West Virginia University Medical School in 1990 and did his family practice residency at Charleston Area Medical Center from 1990-93.
For the past 10 years, he has been a mentor for first- and second-year medical students from Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which certified him as an adjunct professor.
The non-profit Good Shepherd’s Clinic is an outpatient center staffed by volunteer health-care professionals serving those unable to access or who have been denied medical care because of financial reasons.
Services include general medical, diabetic, eye and dental clinics, with the general medicine clinic meeting every Thursday and the others once a month.
“Dr. Yut is indispensable,” said Jean Allen, director of the Good Shepherd’s Clinic. “Without his expertise, guidance, genuinely caring nature and good personality, our clinic would flounder.”
Sukkasem is a former Lion of the Year (1997), and he was 1999-2000 president for the club. He served as chairman of Sight and Hearing Services for 10 years. He is a Melvin Jones Fellow of the club and also earned the William L. Wollard Partner in Service Award.
Dr. Yut has been active in coaching youth soccer. He and his wife, Rhoda, have two sons, Zack and Matthew.
Farrah worked as a truck salesman and manager of a Chevrolet dealership in Detroit before opening his own dealership in Meadville, Pa., and operating it for 20 years.
Along the way, he helped six former employees to become auto dealers themselves.
In the 1980s, Farrah served as national sales manager for Rusco Windows and Doors, national sales manager for Vi-Pann Chemical Co. and general manager for Ed Stinn Chevrolet.
By the 1990s, he was back to being an auto salesman and financial advisor to his son, Brad, and his dealership in Salisbury.
“He knows no strangers and talks to everyone — a true salesman,” said Phyliis Ohm, the 2010 Lion of the Year. “His first questions are ‘What’s your name? Where do you work or what do you do? What kind of car do you drive?’ This starts the conversation and goes on from there.
“He even sold a truck to a painter who was still up a ladder.”
Farrah briefly attended Michigan State University, hoping someday to play professional baseball, but he had to quit school to support his mother. He served in the Merchant Marines during World War II.
After the war, he had jobs that included delivering beer by bicycle, working in a grocery store, serving as a fireman on a Great Lakes freighter, working as a test technician at Packard Motors and driving one of the first UPS trucks in his hometown.
Farrah is a founding member of the American Lebanese league, a national lobby to aid Lebanon. He is a Mason, Shriner and Legionnaire. His interests have included American history, world travel, golf and pheasant hunting.
He wrote a book about his life, titled “Legacy,” and he writes guest columns for the Salisbury Post.
Farrah has been married 58 years. He has four children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.