2019 Distinguished Hispanic Ohioans Awards Gala

October 26, 2019 marked the 39th year of the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Awards Gala. Each year, three awards (Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan, Military Service of Distinction and Nuestra Familia [Our Family]) are awarded to outstanding members of the community and organizations that strive to improve the lives of the Latino community, as well as, the general public. The Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan awardess are recognized for working steadfastly to ensure their communities become a better place for both Hispanics and the general public. Military Service of Distinction awardees 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 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. This year's Keynote Speaker was Judge Marilyn Zayas who is the first Latina elected to any Ohio Court of Appeals, the highest-ranking Latina judge in Ohio and the first Latina judge to sit on any Ohio Supreme Court case. The event started with a VIP reception where chairpersons, commisssioners and awardees gathered before the award ceremony. The awards started off with a performance from the Miss Ohio Latinas, the Posing of colors, followed by the National Anthem sung by Karen Libra and the Pledge of Allegiance lead by Commissioner Tony Simms-Howell. Guests were welcomed by OCHLA Executive Director Lilly Cavanaugh and Chair Mary Santiago then Nuestra Familia awardees were honored. Guests were able to enjoy Karen Libra's musical performance and the photobooth while waiting for dinner to be served. Following dinner, the awards continued honoring the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan awardees and the Latino Military Service Award recipients. Lilly Cavanaugh and Chair Santiago gave closing remarks concluding a wonderful night with wonderful people. We can't wait until next year's DHO to celebrate four decades of Hispanic excellence.

The 2019 Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Awards Gala Awardees



Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan AwardeesAngel Colón (Cincinnati), Amy García (Bedford Heights), José Luna (Province), Julio Mateo (Dayton), Hector Medina (Mason), Jorge Pérez (Cincinnati), Yahaira Pérez-Caraballo (Westerville), Mary Lou Reyes (Youngstown), and Victor Ruiz (Cleveland).

Military Service of Distinction Awardees: US Air Force Colonel Walter Bustelo (Dayton) and US Air Force Technical Sergeant Ezequiel “Frank” Villa (Toledo)

Nuestra Familia (Our Family) 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)



Keynote speaker: Judge Marilyn Zayas




Program Booklet

2019 Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Awards Gala

2019 Distinguished Hispanic Awards Gala

[The annual Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Awards Gala secures recognition of the accomplishments of Hispanics in Ohio]

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square
The Governor’s Ballroom
75 East State Street Columbus, OH 43215

6:00pm – 10:00pm

VIP Reception



Awards Program