Case Manager Henry Campagna was more surprised than anyone when he learned that Comprehensive Housing Information and Referrals for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles (CHIRP/LA) had awarded him with a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service for his work with Foothill AIDS Project (FAP.)

“I was not expecting it,” Campagna said. “It feels almost like I don’t deserve it, but it’s nice to be recognized for the work that I’m doing with my clients.”

If Campagna seems humble, that’s because he is. He’s known here at FAP for graciously and diligently helping wherever he can, even when that help requires chunks of his personal time outside of business hours. In the days before and after he won this award, he volunteered twice at FAP events, at World AIDS Day where he presided over the ¡Presente! segment of the program and at the annual Client Holiday Party.

Henry Campagna holds his award from CHIRP/LA

Henry Campagna holds his Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service from CHIRP/LA at his desk in FAP’s Pasadena office.

‘His Heart Speaks for Valiance’

Henry Campagna earned his Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in 2011 from Antioch University in Los Angeles. He has worked at FAP since 2013, and previously worked at FAP from 2008 to 2009 before he enrolled in his Master’s program. He didn’t always work in housing, though, and this award has reminded him of how hard his colleagues at other agencies in Los Angeles work.

“I’m new to housing, and there are a lot of people at CHIRP who are more seasoned than I am, people who bring a lot more experience and knowledge and resources to their work. That’s not my strength,” Campagna said. “My strength is working with clients, holding their emotional stuff, rather than the paperwork side.”

Winter Speyer, the program manager at CHIRP/LA, said Campagna’s humility belies how special his approach actually is.

“We chose to give him the award because his heart speaks for valiance, more than knowledge or experience,” Speyer said. “His interactions with his clients and coworkers speaks volumes, and we felt that he deserved the award.”

CHIRP/LA and Henry Campagna

CHIRP/LA opened its doors nine years ago. Each year, they give out three Certificates of Appreciation. Campagna was one of the recipients in 2016 at the CHIRP/LA monthly meeting held on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Speyer and other CHIRP/LA officials ran an introductory seminar with Campagna at FAP’s Claremont office. They call the seminar Housing 101. Even from that first contact with Campagna, Speyer said he stood out.

“We were really impressed that Henry actually knew his clients. … A lot of people just work with their clients and go home at the end of their day. With Henry, we could see that he takes the time to really know his clients, their strengths and weaknesses, and he spends time thinking about how he can best help them,” Speyer said. “He says he’s just doing his job and he doesn’t deserve it, but he doesn’t see what we see.”

A Life in LGBT Activism

Campagna has a longstanding interest in HIV and other LGBT issues. He volunteered at APLA Health in Los Angeles after he graduated from UC Santa Barbara, his first time working in nonprofit case management. His experiences there motivated him to return to school for his Master’s and work in HIV case management as a career.

“I definitely want to keep working with LGBT individuals, that is my passion,” Campagna said. “HIV unfortunately is something that a lot of people in this community continue to face, and they need support around that issue.”

Housing’s New Addition

Campagna said he didn’t expect anyone outside of FAP’s Pasadena office to hear about his award, but he didn’t count on his supervisor, Anthony Brazier, FAP’s housing coordinator.

“Henry has been a great addition to our department,” Brazier said. “He offers wonderful stability and support for that office and the clients we serve. This award was an acknowledgement of his great housing specialist skills, master-level techniques and his commitment to fulfill FAP’s mission to improve the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS through comprehensive housing support services.”

Even with such glowing endorsements, Campagna remains who he is: A humble guy who is unaccustomed to so much recognition. “It’s not something that I’m used to. I don’t like talking about this. I acknowledge it to myself, but in a broader sense, I don’t,” Campagna said.