BY KARMINA LOPEZ
Latinos from all over the city were honored last week at the Latino Stars Awards and Networking Event hosted by The Queens Courier, El Correo and The Star Network.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., gave the opening speech and received the “Man of the Year” Award for all his outstanding efforts in bringing honor to the Latino community.
“They are changing the world, they are changing our communities, and it’s really important that Schneps Communications is taking the time out and pausing to say thank you for what they are doing, and recognizing them for their hard work,” he said.
The event held at Maestro’s Caterers in the Bronx, began with a VIP session during which Latino Stars introducing themselves to their fellow honorees and met our talented Emcee Channel 5 Reporter Audrey Puente they then joined a networking cocktail party and a business expo.
Afterwards, guests and honorees enjoyed dinner and an awards ceremony that concluded with a charity raffle benefiting Latino Youth for Higher Education, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing quality education for low-income students of Latinos and who are new to the country.
Victoria Schneps-Yunis, CEO of Schneps Communications and publisher of both the Queens Courier and El Correo, hosted the event alongside the master of ceremonies, Fox 5 News weather anchor, Audrey Puente.
Chantel Martinez, Miss Dominican Republic U.S. 2012, handed the awards to honorees with our Emcee Audrey Puente and then entertainer Natalia Segura emotionally sang The National Anthem.
A special guest of honor supporting the event was Lenny Caro, Bronx Chamber of Commerce president. His motivating speech encouraged all Latinos to “shine”.
“You can see from a lot of these people that we are meeting here tonight that they are passionate about what they do, that’s why they became the success that they are,” said Puente TV Reporter. “It’s important that we actually meet each other, because then, we could all find out who we are, where we are out there. Latinos are not often recognized in big ways”.
“It feels awesome to be around a lot of fellow Latinos who are also investing their time and efforts into what they do.” added Julio Reyes, Popular Community Bank and first-time Latino Star.
Among those honored were actor, Luis Antonio Ramos with the “Latino Legend” Award, who was introduced by the young star of “Annie,” Nicolette Pierini. Also recognized were Betty Lugo and Carmen Pacheco with the “Top Lawyer Award 2015”, recognized for being the first Hispanic women to own a law firm in New York. State Senator Gustavo Rivera was honored with a “Latino Excellence Award”
“These guys are the movers and shakers,” said Ramos, star of the cable series, “Power.” “They are making things happen here. It’s important that they know each other”
During the event, Victoria highlighted the many extraordinary achievements of the “Latino Stars” that were being honored that night, emphasizing that it was her privilege to recognize “these fabulous people because they have a passion for what they do.”
The other honorees were: Anthony Antonetti, Natasha Bisbal, Alina Camacho-Gingerich, PH.D, Carlos L. Diaz, Tommy Fernandez, Peter Fontanes, Liliana Gil Valletta, Roberto Llamos, Grace Lloret, Bernard A. Lopez, Paulina Lopez, Dr. Ron Mark, Marco Materassi, Esq., Dr. Roland M. Melendez, Miriam Marmolejos, John Moreno-Escobar, Nancy Vargas-Johnson, Michelle Rosa Patruno, Esther Priegue, LCSW, David Ramos, Ramon Ray, Julio E. Reyes, Rafael Reyes, Gloria Reyes Barros, MarySol Rodriguez, Miriam Rodriguez, Wendy Rodriguez, Raymond “Ricco” Ruiz, Gilda St. Fleur, Millie Santos Pezzino, Sandra Turck, Javier N. Solis and The Honorable Gustavo Rivera.
Sponsors of the event were Investors Bank, Broadway Stages, Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Univision, AgeWell New York, NYCB Community of Banks, DeSales MediaGroup, Delta Airlines, Queens Chamber of Commerce, Daily News, El Correo, Popular Community Bank.
Thanks to the event’s sponsors including Delta Airlines, Creative Group LLC, Dale Carnegie Institute and American Golf whose gifts helped raise $1800 in raffle donations for Latino Youth for Higher Education.