Distinguished Hispanic Ohioans

Governor’s Commission to honor Latino community leaders for 39th year.

Columbus, OH, September 3, 2019: The Ohio Latino Affairs Commission is pleased to announce the Governor’s 39th Annual Distinguished Hispanic Ohioans Awards Gala, set to occur October 26, 2019 at the Sheraton Columbus Capitol Square starting at 6:00 pm. Comprised of three award categories The Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan (DHO), Latino Military Service Award of Distinction and Nuestra Familia Award. This event honors individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their professional or community service endeavors, and who serve as role models for the growing Hispanic community in Ohio. The event is open to the public, and tickets cost is $75 per person with dinner included. Tickets can be purchases at https://2019dho.eventbrite.com.

Originally the Hispanic Service Award, the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award was established in 1980 by the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission. This award was created to fulfill the Commission’s mandate to “secure appropriate recognition of the accomplishments of Hispanic/ Latino people of this state.” Each year, Latino community leaders, friends, family, legislators and other state government representatives gather to attend this event. As of 2005, the Commission encourages and welcomes public nominations of unique community members who serve and strive to improve Ohio. In 2010, the DHO started honoring Latino service members through the Latino Military Service of Distinction Award.

The Commission congratulates this year’s Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Awardees: Angel Colón (Cincinnati), Amy García (Bedford Heights), José Luna (Holland), Julio Mateo (Dayton), Hector Medina (Mason), Jorge Pérez (Cincinnati), Yahaira Pérez-Caraballo (Westerville), Mary Lou Reyes (Youngstown), and Victor Ruiz (Cleveland). These individuals work steadfastly to ensure their communities become a better place for both Hispanics and the general public.

The Commission also congratulates this year’s Military Service of Distinction Awardees: US Air Force Colonel Walter Bustelo (Dayton) and US Air Force Technical Sergeant Ezequiel Villa (Toledo). These individuals are Latinos in uniform who have served our country honorably and continue to contribute to their community, state, and country in an exemplary manner.

Finally, the Commission congratulates this year’s Nuestra Familia Awardees: Dr. Christopher Babiuch (Lorain), General Electric Hispanic Forum Cincinnati Chapter, Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus), Nueva Esperanza Community Credit Union (Toledo), Rocking Horse Community Health Center (Springfield), Inna Simakovsky (Columbus), Suzanne Smaltz (Copley), and Bryan Wright (Cincinnati). Nuestra Familia (Our Family) awardees are non-Hispanic individuals or organizations that encourage the inclusion of Latinos in Ohio and are committed to making Ohio a welcoming place to all.

The Ohio Latino Affairs Commission (OCHLA) is a state agency, established by the Legislative Act and signed into law by Governor James Rhodes on July 8, 1977. The Commission acts as a liaison between government and the community by bringing issues, concerns and needs to the attention of the government while connecting government officials to communities to share services. The Commission advises state government on issues affecting Hispanic Ohioans, connects the diverse Latino communities across the state and builds the capacity of community organizations to better serve the fast-growing population of Ohio.

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