"OCHLA hosts annual Awards Gala"


"OCHLA hosts annual Awards Gala"


La Prensa


April 25, 2008






newletter article


The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA) hosted its Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Awards Gala on Friday, April 18, 2008, at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Columbus.

Medely Ortiz was the Mistress of Ceremonies. She holds the title of Miss Ohio Belleza Latina; she is of Puerto Rican descent and originally from Boston, Massachusetts.

Ms. Ortiz introduced Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who, as he did last year, welcomed the gathering, congratulated the award recipients, and discussed briefly political events including Senate Bill 260, which he opposes, as the bill is currently drafted.

Entertainment was provided by a Grupo Caribe (Dayton), directed by Sulma Rodríguez, and Mariachi Nacional (Indianapolis).

The table centerpieces were created by Mario Torres, a native of Sante Fé de Bogatá, Colombia.

Award recipients

The Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award has been a part of Ohio Latino Affairs for approximately 30 years, tracing back to the Distinguished Service Awards of OCHLA in the early 1980s. Each spring, commissioners award the "DHO" to Latinos in Ohio for their exemplary service and the "Nuestra Familia" Award to non-Ohioans or non-Latinos who have in some way made a beneficial impact to the Latino community in Ohio.

The 2008 Distinguished Hispanic Ohioans are:

Sonia Troche, Toledo (Sonia is the executive director of Adelante, Inc., a Latino Resource Center based in Toledo. She is of Puerto Rican descent and was a former resident of Cleveland prior to her appointment as Adelante's director some four years ago. She is the mother of 3 daughters.)

Victor Leandry, Lorain (Victor is the executive director of El Centro de Servicios Sociales in Lorain. He is of Puerto Rican descent and is the father of one daughter.)

Councilman Joe Santiago, Cleveland (Joe is the Cleveland City Councilman of Ward 14. He is of Puerto Rican descent.)

María Cruz-Lucio, Findlay (María is a program supervisor with the Ohio Dept. of Jobs & Family Services in Findlay. She is of Puerto Rican descent and is originally from Lorain.)

Wanda Canales, Wilberforce (Wanda is a diversity officer with the Office of Admissions at Central State University. She is of Puerto Rican descent and originally from Lorain.)

Guadalupe Velásquez, Columbus (Guadalupe is the coordinator for the New American Initiative of the City of Columbus. She is of Mexican/Cuban ancestry and is originally from Lorain.)

Gilbert Silva, Amherst (Pastor Silva is the Senior Pastor for the House of Praise in Amherst. He is of Puerto Rican descent and originally from Lorain.

Jason Riveiro, Cincinnati (Jason is deputy director of LULAC, Cincinnati Chapter. His countries of ancestry are Venezuela and Colombia; he is a originally from Texas.)

Juan José Pérez, Columbus (Juan is an attorney, practicing in Columbus. He and his law firm, Pérez & Morris, LLC, have sponsored for five years, El Día de Los Reyes. He is of Mexican descent and a former resident of Toledo.)

Tony Ortiz, Beavercreek (Tony is the director of Athletic Training Education and Sports Medicine Services at Wright State University. He is of Puerto Rican descent.)

2008 Nuestra Familia recipients were: Reverend William A. Thaden, Lorain; Mr. Tracy Nichols, Cleveland; and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Ohio, Columbus.

The 31st OCHLA Board of Commissioners nominated the above award recipients and consists of: Richard Romero (Chair, Lorain), Blanche Aviles Casey (Interim Vice Chair, Dayton), Michael G. Florez (Secretary, Cincinnati), Phillip Barbosa (Toledo), Simon Rodríguez (Wood County), Mary Santiago (Lorain), Humberto González (Reynoldsburg), Chris Rodríguez (Whitehall), V. Anthony Simms-Howell (Cincinnati).

Toledo native Ezra C. Escudero is the executive director of OCHLA since 2003, assisted by community liaison Lilleana Cavanaugh and administrative assistant Rosario Martínez.

OCHLA is a state-supported organization that advises state government on issues affecting Latino Ohioans-it connects the diverse Latino communities across the state and builds the capacity of community organizations so they may better serve its fast growing Latino population.

It hosts a Web site at www.ochla.ohio.gov

OCHLA is hosting a statewide Latino Legislation Visit Day on May 6, 2008 at the state capitol in Columbus. This full-day event brings leaders from across the state to meet Ohio legislators to discuss important public policy issues and dialogue about needs and opportunities faced by Ohioans.

Original Format





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