There have been many people and events that have shaped the life of St. Vincent de Paul parishioner Dan Orozco.
Growing up as the oldest of six children in Gardena, Orozco was most influenced by his father.
“My Dad was almost a saint in how he supported the parish,” Orozco said. “He put myself and my five siblings through Catholic schools, from grammar school through high school.”
Orozco developed his love of volunteering and helping others from his dad, who was involved in leadership positions in the Knights of Columbus, Holy Names Society and many others.
“He was doing all of these Christian acts, while no one was watching,” added Orozco.
Orozco attended St. Anthony of Padua elementary school, then Junipero Serra High School. He went on to El Camino Community College in Torrance, where he continued an already successful track career and was named captain of the team. At El Camino, Orozco met Cristine, and they were married in 1975. After his stint at El Camino, Orozco transferred to California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).
While at CSULB, the pastor at Orozco’s childhood parish, St. Anthony of Padua, reached out with a unique opportunity. The pastor wanted him to co-chair the annual parish fiesta. This request was a pivotal moment in Orozco’s long life of service in management and administration, both corporately and in various parish and community projects. While in his junior year at CSULB, a family friend contacted Orozco about working part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer months at The Aerospace Corporation, in El Segundo.
This event prompted a change in potential career direction, from engineering to business, with a specialty in management.
While at The Aerospace Corporation from 1975 to 1986, he demonstrated a strong work ethic, coupled with a proactive desire to take on new tasks.
Orozco’s professional career led to him being transferred to Washington DC, Northern California and the La Crescenta area. In 2001, his last move brought him south to Orange County and Huntington Beach. Orozco officially retired in 2015.
This began a time period where Orozco served as the primary care giver for Cristine, until 2019 when she passed away.
Since his retirement, Orozco has immersed his life into various organizations.
At St. Vincent de Paul, Orozco is involved in the Knights of Columbus, where he is a past Grand Knight and chair of the Seminarian Scholarship Program. He also serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, lector and St. Vincent Fiesta chair. He’s also involved in the food and clothing distribution program at St. Bonaventure.
“Dan stands out in a crowd, always cheerful, always in the middle of the action and always a resource of leadership,” said Deacon Jerry Wallace of St. Vincent de Paul. “He never seems concerned about taking credit or avoiding getting dirty. He is one of the first ones you would choose for your team.”
Orozco fully embodies what it means to live life to its fullest.
“I want to stay healthy and be able to serve the parish, my community, be active with my family and travel,” he said.
He stays fit by exercising daily, biking, playing pickleball, skiing and competing in Masters Track Meets. Always goal oriented, Orozco would like to return to his pre-COVID involvement by competing in three to four meets per year, as well as national and world Masters events.
He’s also a blood donor, emulating fellow Knight Patrick Earley, who at almost 94 years-old has donated over 1,000 units of blood platelets.
“God has been very good to me,” said Orozco. “I have a wonderful family, good health and the Knights of Columbus to learn from and interact with.”