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Jossi of all trades

July 14, 2004

Jimmy Stroup

After three years of volunteering at the Newport Beach American

Cancer Society Discovery Shop, Sumie Jossi has created an

irreplaceable niche for herself. And her efforts have earned her the

shop's volunteer of the year award.

Humble and unassuming, Jossi seems almost embarrassed to be

awarded, claiming that the work and the cause are what's important.

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"I think everybody has a cancer patient or somebody dying of

cancer in their family, which I do, too," Jossi said. "To me, it

[seems to be] a very common cost, unfortunately. If there's anything

we can do to help, [we should]."

The Discovery Shop operates entirely on donations. People in the

community donate whatever they can -- jewelry, clothes, odds and ends

-- and the shop sells the items at a discount , giving the proceeds

to the American Cancer Society.

"Seventy percent of the monies that we generate is for the bottom

line of cancer research," said Lucy Quintana, manager and the only

paid employee at the Discovery Shop.

Jossi is one of the store's anchors, Quintana said, with her work

cashiering, bookkeeping and helping design the racks and displays.

She also thinks the little things, such as giving other workers fresh

flower arrangements from her garden on their birthdays.

"Sumie is a great support for everything. If you need anything

done, she's there before you even think about it," Quintana said.

Other volunteers echo the sentiments of Quintana, having only the

kindest of things to say about Jossi.

"I think she's a really hard worker," said Jeanne Keef, a

Discovery Shop volunteer for five years. "She's really dedicated to

our little store here."

Adele Prepas has been volunteering at the store for six years and

has enjoyed working with Jossi since she joined in 2001.

"Sumie ... outstanding volunteer," said the former elementary

school teacher. "Very flexible, many skills, many talents. We rely

heavily upon her expertise."

That expertise may come from Jossi's work as an office manager for

a trading company after immigrating to the United States from Japan

in 1965.

True to form, though, Jossi doesn't really want to talk about

herself, preferring to expound about her pleasure in working at the

Discovery Shop.

"Wonderful place," she said. "Wonderful place to work, wonderful

place to meet people."

She have to talk about herself -- for a while at least -- on Aug.

5, when the American Cancer Society will recognize her at its annual

awards banquet.

The American Cancer Society Discovery Shop is located at 2600 E.

Coast Highway (near MacArthur Boulevard and PCH) and is open from 10

a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

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