"And the king will answer them,
'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the
Ripon College Honorary Degree
Ripon High School Distinguished Alumni Award
Vasco Nunez de Balboa Award
Fr. Wally's tireless efforts on behalf of the people of Panama exemplify
The First Vice President of the Republic of Panama, Thomas Gabriel Altamirano Duque, decorated Capuchin Walter Kasuboski (known in Panama as Padre Pablo) with the Order of Vasco Nunez de Balboa, in the Comendador degree. This is the highest award given to a civilian in Panama. The decoration was given on September 6th, 1996 in the community of Torti, which pertains to the city of Chepo.
The liturgy, which was celebrated before the act of decoration, was in the church under construction in Torti. Andre Weller was the principal celebrant of the mass assisted by Kevin Heagerty and by Walter. After the mass Perry McDonald (in the role of representative of the province and provincial vicar) spoke, and Andre translated. Joseph Smetana (representative of the general vice province), also said words of thanks and praise.
At the ceremony after the mass there were speeches by the first vice president, the mayor of Chepo, by various dignities in the field of health and education and many leaders or Delegates of the Word from the Christian Communities of Wacuco or in the area of Torti. These speakers praised the work that Walter has done in making possible drinking water available to the rural communities (at this time, over 85 kilometers of pipe had been laid), for his work of constructing roads and bridges that enable the people to bring their products to market, and in the fields of education and religion. There were many songs sung in his honor, poems recited, typical dances by the native Indians of the area, and giving of many gifts. The first vice president commented that Walter would have to have a yard sale in order to get rid of the things that he couldn't use. Six young cows were donated, as well as $4,900.00 for the floor of the church he was building.
The visiting friars returned to Chepo tired because of the early hour of departure from Chepo and the rough road, but happy with the knowledge that Walter's many accomplishments have been recognized and appreciated. Along with the sacraments administrated and the chapels he has built, Walter will long be known for his work among his beloved people of Torti in what is known as Alto Bayano of the parish of Chepo in Panama.
Distinguished American Award
Pictured in photo: Denise de Arias, Raul Arias de Para, Elena Guardia de Lombardo, Father Pablo (Fr. Wally Kasuboski), artist Coqui Calderon, and U.S. Ambassador to Panama, Linda E. Watt.
The celebration of the 4th of July in Panama City, took place at the Marriott Hotel, on July 1st, 2004. Ambassador Linda E. Watt acknowledged Father Pablo for his work and dedication.
"The 'American citizenís Hall of Fame' salutes citizens of the United States of America who are resident in Panama, and whose work and lives have contributed to a positive image of the United States among Panamanians. I thank all of those who nominated the many fine candidates for this award, and I thank the committee of American community members who chose the finalists.
Padre Pablo came to Panama in 1988 as a volunteer to perform missionary work. He stayed on Torti, Panama Este, where his efforts to bring potable water to the remote communities, to provide rice at low cost, and to repair roads, have lifted people up both economically and spiritually. He has become a legend throughout Panama and we are delighted to honor him today."