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ANAHEIM, CA -- A pioneer in U.S. fresh produce importing earned two recognitions for his contributions to the international produce trade business at an industry reception Oct. 4.

Jack V. Pandol Sr. will receive Chile's highest presidential award, and was also recognized by Chilean and U.S. fresh fruit industry organizations. The awards were announced at Produce Marketing Association's annual International Partners Reception at the 2009 Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition, held here Oct. 2-5.

Chilean Counsel General Jose Manuel Lira announced that Mr. Pandol will receive the Bernardo O'Higgins Presidential Order of Merit, Chile's highest award; it is conferred at the discretion of the country's president. Mr. Pandol is the first American to ever receive the award, and only the second civilian. The award is named after Chilean soldier-statesman Bernardo O'Higgins (1776-1842), who was an integral figure in Chile's war for independence and served as the country's first director supremo.

Mr. Lira announced the Chilean presidential award to family members of the 86-year-old Mr. Pandol, who could not personally attend. Representing Mr. Pandol at the reception were his nephew John Pandol and his grandson Andrew Pandol. Andrew Pandol welcomed the commendations on behalf of his grandfather.

Jack Pandol is chairman emeritus and the retired president of the family-held Pandol organization of fruit growing. The award will be personally presented to him at a later date, as stipulated by government requirements.

Ronald Bown, chairman of Associacion de Exportadores de Chile (ASOEX, the Chilean Exporters Association), and PMA President and Chief Executive Officer Bryan Silbermann also presented Jack Pandol with a joint lifetime achievement award from their organizations. That award was presented in recognition of a "lifetime of leadership building strong connections for the fresh produce industry around the world and, in particular, between the United States and Chile."

"Jack has been a pioneer throughout his life in connecting the different parts of the global supply chain," Mr. Silbermann said in an Oct. 7 PMA press release. "His persistence, his refusal to accept 'no' for an answer, marked his career."

"When we asked our government to recognize Jack's contribution to our industry, they immediately agreed to present him with our country's highest honor," Mr. Bown said in the release describing the Bernardo O'Higgins Award.

Mr. Silbermann noted Mr. Pandol's leadership role in produce trade, including serving as the first chairman of PMA's international trade committee when it was created in 1983.