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OCHLA hosts annual awards banquet April 28


Columbus: This Friday, April 28, commencing 6:00PM, the Ohio Commission on Hispanic Latino Affairs (OCHLA) hosts its annual Distinguished Ohioan Recognition Awards presentation.  The awards will be presented at a Gala Dinner at the downtown Columbus Renaissance Hotel.


Each year, distinguished Latina/o Ohioans and four Nuestra Familia Awards are granted by OCHLA.  The Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award is presented to Ohio citizens of Latino ancestry and who have exhibited leadership and exceptional, tangible community service to all Ohioans. 


Dr. Silvia Jimenez Hyre

Award recipients

Recipients of the 2005 Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Awards are: Angie Martínez and Juanita Senquiz from Lorain, Cecilia Roman Gerling and Rich Gandarillas from Columbus, Consuelo Hernández from Toledo, Juan Santiago of Home Savings and Loan from Youngstown, and Nuestro Rincon from Cincinnati. 


OCHLA’s  Nuestra Familia Awards are presented to individuals of non-Latino ancestry and Ohio-based organizations or corporations that have performed service of exceptional benefit to Hispanic Ohioans.  Nuestra Familia Award recipients for 2005 are: Home Savings & Loan of Youngstown, Dr. Gregory Stewart and Midwest Latino (Michael Beck) from Cincinnati, and The Office of Minority Affairs at The Ohio State University.


OCHLA was created in 1977 with three primary mandates:


• To advise the Governor, members of the General Assembly, and state government in general about the issues facing the Latino community throughout Ohio.  This may include proposing new programs, legislation, publishing reports, ensuring access to policy makers for the community, and other activities.

Ezra C. Escudero


• To gather information about and disseminate information to the Latino community throughout Ohio.  This may be accomplished through workshops, public meetings, reports, conferences, and so forth.


• To work to enhance and build the capacity of private sector not-for profit community organizations and agencies in their service to the Latino community across the state. 


In 1980, the mandate to “secure appropriate recognition of the accomplishments of Hispanic/Latino people to this state” was added.  The Commission then began presenting Hispanic Service Awards, which later became the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award.

Current OCHLA commissioners, appointed by the Governor, are: Silvia Jiménez Hyre from Youngstown (Chair); Ramona Reyes (Vice Chair) and Humberto González from Columbus; Simon Rodríguez (Secretary) and Phil Barbosa from Toledo; Michael Florez and V. Anthony Simms-Howell from Cincinnati; Mary Santiago and Richard Romero from Lorain, and Maritza Pérez from Cleveland.


OCHLA’s director is Ezra C. Escudero.

Financial support from companies, individuals, and others help make this very special event possible. Donations to and proceeds from the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Recognition Gala Dinner will help fund other OCHLA programs such as: the Education Campaign, the West Side Fire Community Task Force and the OCHLA Leadership Outreach initiatives.


Individuals and corporations often donate tables and tickets in order for local Latino high school students or others in the community to attend the awards ceremony.  This gives youth the opportunity to meet recognized leaders who have made a positive impact on communities across Ohio.


Current sponsorships for this year’s event include: Wasserstrom & Sons; Abercrombie & Fitch; Ted Roberts, Esq. of Roth, Blair, Strasfeld, Roberts & Lodge; Home Savings & Loan of Youngstown; Honda of America; Fifth Third Bank; Huntington Bank; Nationwide Insurance; Midwest Latino; and Commission Chair Silvia Jiménez-Hyre. 


Comm. Richard Romero

This year’s keynote speaker is the Betty D. Montgomery, Ohio State Auditor.


For further information regarding sponsorships please contact the Commission at 614-466-8333 or e-mail Ezra Escudero at [email protected]   Information can also be obtained from Silvia Jiménez Hyre, Chair of the Commission, at 330-941-2337 or e-mail at [email protected]. Sponsorships are due by April 20.  Individual tickets may be purchased for $50 per person.





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