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Town Marks Hispanic Heritage Month

 October 24, 2017
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Town Marks Hispanic Heritage Month

More than 100 attend to enjoy food music & celebrate honorees

North Hempstead, NY – North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the Town Board honored seven local Hispanic-American residents at the “Yes We Can” Community Center on October 6 as part of the Town’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Those honored were recognized for their positive influence in the North Hempstead community.

“We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the Hispanic-American residents who have made a difference in our community,” said Supervisor Bosworth. “We are proud to be recognizing their contributions and celebrating the occasion by presenting them with live performances, food and friends.”

Westbury High School Junior ROTC assisted with the color guard and Isabel Martinez opened the ceremony with the National Anthem. The event also featured live performances by Fiesta Tropical Triple M, Rhythmology, Rancheritos Krisia & Kristian Romano, Fuerza Flamenca Cuardo, and a reading of the poem Loving Puerto Rico by Stephen Cipot.

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, and provides an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans and to celebrate the group’s history, heritage and culture. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American Countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.

The Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee members Yanira Chacon of St. Brigid’s Church; Mateo Flores of Nassau County EOC; Silvana Loyola of United Health Care; and Pedro Quintanilla of Westbury School Board helped to plan the event.

This year’s honorees were:

Supervisor Judi Bosworth’s Honoree: Bernarda Mordachini
Bernarda Mordachini has been a part of the Great Neck community for the past 44 years. Her mission has been to help support the Hispanic community as a parent and a school employee. She participated as a PTA parent while her children were in school, and continued her support by joining the public school system as a paraprofessional where she worked at Saddle Rock School for the past 30 years until retiring this year. Bernarda was instrumental in initiating and establishing the Saddle Rock Reach Out Committee.

Council Member Viviana Russell’s Honoree: Lia Di Angelo-Allan

Lia Di Angelo-Allan has plays an active role in advocating for and assisting members of the Hispanic community. Lia has received numerous citations from many organizations and governments, including being honored at the 37th gala of “Circulo de la Hispanidad” for her work done fundraising for Latino teenagers to attend college. She is co-owner of Westbury Floral Designs with her business partner Tracy Rhee, which was named the “Business of the Year-Negocio del Año” en los Premios Hispanos Al talent Latino in February of 2017. She has also been named to the DRI Grant Committee with Mayor Peter Cavallaro of Westbury, which will determine how best to utilize a $10 million grant to revitalize downtown Westbury.

Council Member Peter Zuckerman’s Honoree: Cynthia Orellana

Cynthia Orellana is an avid supporter of animal rights and volunteers at A New Beginning Animal Rescue, saving senior dogs. She is the coordinator for the Hispanic Committee for Saint Brigid’s Parish, where she has been doing various types of volunteer work for the past 25 years. She currently teaches at Westbury Middle School and as a former English Language Learner she understands the needs of children coming into a new country and facing language and cultural barriers. She is a strong believer that “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”.

Council Member Angelo Ferrara’s Honoree: Michael Rivers

Michael Rivers joined the Garden City Park Fire Department in 9187and became a member of Truck Company #1, later becoming an officer of Company 1 in 1993 and rising to the rank of Chief of the department by 2002. He became an EMT in 1995 and held that certification for 12 years. Michael has served on numerous committees in the fire department both company and department wide and is currently Executive Advisor for the Garden City Park Junior Fire Department. He is also very involved with this community’s Christmas tree lighting, civic and PTA. Michael is an electrician and a member of IBEW Local #25 for 26 years.

Council Member Anna Kaplan’s Honoree: Stella Lawrence
Stella Lawrence became involved with the Hispanic Community of Great Neck, founded by Kitty Poons and a new family was formed. Through her affiliation with the Hispanic Community of Great Neck and her colleagues at John F. Kennedy Elementary School where she has worked for 27 years, she believes that she has been able to help many new families in this great country. Stella says that she is able to connect with families and assist them in any number of ways - from translating documents and sorting through paperwork, to finding places to live, and work, get clothing and food.

Council Member Lee Seeman’s Honoree: Amanda Isabel Aguilo-Cuadra
Amanda Isabel Aguilo-Cuadra is following in the footsteps of her mother, Maria Elisa Cuadra-Fernandez, Executive Director of COPAY, in being involved in the lives of children and ensuring that they stay on the right path. Her involvement includes being a student tutor and teaching assistant at the Institute for Child Development, Teaching Assistant in General Psychology, Community Liaison for the New York State Senate, Student Ambassador and Events Center Staff for Binghamton University and Research Assistant in Cognitive Psychology at Binghamton University and at a local middle school. She is also a volunteer at Nassau University Medical Center in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and in the Emergency Department. At present, she is an Administrative Assistant at COPAY and is involved with behavioral health pre-intake services and serves as the Coordinator of the Children’s Prevention Behavioral Services. Her work with COPAY enables her to help build strong, healthy families, to break the cycle of addiction and ensure that children and their families lead better and more fulfilling lives.

Council Member Dina De Giorgio’s Honoree: Mario Martinez
Mario Martinez joined the Community Action Council (CAC), starting as a Mechanic/Driver for the Transportation Department, then worked as a community organizer and eventually became a program director in 1998. His work has focused on assisting the Port Washington community and its vicinities in the areas of education, advocacy, housing, transportation, immigration, and senior citizens. As a program director he planned and developed successful youth programs like tutorial, summer, and the Senior Citizen Shoppers Program. He is also the Transportation Director of EOC of Nassau County, Inc., the parent umbrella of CAC. He has received several leadership awards and has been recognized for having the well-structured EOC Community Action Program.

Town Clerk Wayne’s Wink’s Honoree: Sandy Sonera
Sandy Sonera was also named the 2016-2017 Firefighter of the Year by his department, which he joined in 2000. After being elected Lieutenant, Sandy rose through the ranks to become Captain in 2009. He would go to serve a double term in the Captain’s office from 2009-2013 and briefly returned to the “Back Step,” but in 2015 Engine Company Three suffered a tragic loss when Lieutenant Robert Escarvage passed away. As the company grieved, Sandy stepped up to take on the role of Lieutenant “temporarily”. The result is that Sandy is once again in command of Company Three as Captain.

For more information on the Town’s honorees or Hispanic Heritage Month, please call 311 or visit www.NorthHempsteadNY.gov.

Town officials with the live performers at the Town’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. From left are Vito Genna, Isabel Martinez, Lisa Adele Nazli, Leslie Carmen , poet Stephen Cipot, Council Member Viviana Russell, Committee member Mateo Flores, Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Committee member Pedro Quintanilla, Town Clerk Wayne Wink, and Krisia and Kristian Romano.

Council Member Viviana Russell, Council Member Anna Kaplan, Town Clerk Wayne Wink, Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Council Member Dina De Giorgio, Council Member Angelo Ferrara; Lia Di Angelo-Allan, Stella Lawrence, Sandy Sonera, Amanda Isabel Aguilo-Cuadra, Bernarda Mordachini, Mario Martinez, Cynthia Orellana and Michael Rivers.

Attendees are treated to musical performances during the Town’s 2017 Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

Attendees are treated to musical performances during the Town’s 2017 Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.


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