Local Chamber Supports Don Juan Ponce de Leon Awards

The National Coalition of Puerto Rican Chambers attended the 6th annual Banquet Gala and Don Juan Ponce de Leon Awards event in Melbourne, FL at the Hilton Melbourne Beach Oceanfront Hotel.  The gala, organized by United Third Bridge and supported by the Florida Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (a statewide Chamber) was attended by Central Florida Businesses, Political and Community Leaders in support of the Awards celebration.  Representing the National Coalition of Puerto Rican Chambers was Luis DeRosa, V.P. (PR Coalition) and current President of the South Florida Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce (Miami Dade County) who spoke about his involvement in the coalition in promoting trade, commerce, and tourism between Puerto Rico, Miami-Dade and the United States.  Also attending on behalf of the Coalition was Mr. Mike Rios, Treasurer and Current President of The Puerto Rican Chamber of Palm Beach County.

Mr. Sam Lopez, Chairman, U.T.B. expressed his gratitude to those in attendance and to the sponsors ( U.T.B., Latino Justice PRLDE, Banco Popular, Vista Hospice and Family Grocery) for their support.

Ms. Teresa Lopez, President, Florida Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce remarked that the annual Don Juan Ponce De Leon Awards is a tribute to Juan Ponce de Leon landing in Melbourne Beach, now situated as part of Brevard county.  Sam Lopez introduces the award recipients in conjunction with awards presenters Ms. Kim Burke and Miguel Colon. 

They are:

  1. Bank of the Year , Erik Sanchez, Banco Popular
  2. Business of the Year, Mrs. Dutchess McClinton, Sam’s Choice
  3. Business Person of the Year, Crystal Colon, SI Colon Holding Group, LLC
  4. Diversity Outreach Person of the Year, Louis Pernice, B.C.C. Police Testing
  5. Educator of the Year, Brevard County Schools, Maritza Luyando, Spanish & ESOL Teacher of the Year
  6. Hispanic Student of the Year, Brevard County Schools, Jasmin Cañas, Bayside High School
  7. Hispanic Newspaper of the Year, La Prensa, Orlando, Ms. Dora Toro, CEO
  8. Special Business Partner of the Year, Martin & Vargas Design, Alberto A. Vargas
  9. Public Official of the Year, Commissioner Andy Anderson
  10. Realtor of the Year, Kimberly Burke, Century 21 Camelot
  11. Up and Coming Business of the Year, Family Grocery, Nivardo Grullon
  12. Volunteer & Most Referrals of the Year, Isabel Wright, Vitas Hospice Innovative Care
  13. Don Juan Ponce de Leon Special Recognition Award, Don Lusk, former Brevard County Parks and Rec Supervisor, (recently retired)

The keynote speaker was Mr. Maurice Ferre, Candidate for US Senate, who spoke about getting the vote out as a right of Communities to empower themselves.  Judge Ali B. Majeed did the swearing in of the new Board of Directors of FPRHCC.