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The Florida Times-Union

Hispanics Honor Peers' Triumphs Community Recognizes Exemplary Achievements In Various Vocations

By RACHEL DAVIS, The Times-Union

November 14, 2003
Copyright ©2003
Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Ten Hispanic community leaders in North Florida will be honored Saturday for contributions in fields of expertise from religion and medicine to entertainment and humanitarian work.

The fourth annual Hispanics Achieving Community Excellence Awards will be at the University of North Florida at 7 p.m. The black tie awards ceremony is $75 a plate and will feature Surgeon General Richard Carmona as the keynote speaker. Proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.

The night's top honor -- North Florida Hispanic of the Year -- will be given to Edith Perez, a member of the Cancer Clinical Study Unit at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Perez is also a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., and serves on various cancer research and steering committees.

Perez received her medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in San Juan and completed her residency in internal medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.

She has developed and is involved in clinical trials exploring the use of therapeutic agents for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer, and has also developed studies to evaluate the role of genetic markers in the development and aggressiveness of breast cancer.

Other honorees include:

-- Ya'Gozo, a Latin jazz band, for its contribution in entertainment. The band is a mainstay at Adagio Jazz Club in Savannah and has performed with jazz celebrities such as Doug Carn and Eddie Palmieri.

-- Annabel Krott, a native of Guatemala City, Guatemala, and licensed clinical social worker, will be honored with the humanitarian award. Krott assists Hispanic families with bilingual services such as parenting classes, drug and alcohol prevention and treatment, physician assistance programs and personal growth groups.

-- Puerto Rico native and broadcaster Derek Garcia Sepulveda will receive an athletics award for creating the area's first Hispanic softball league in April 2000. It has five teams.

-- Maribel Hernandez, chief administrative officer of the Jacksonville Airport Authority, will receive the government award. Hernandez has been tasked with developing and implementing a customer service strategic plan, a public awareness program and providing overall leadership to the organization's customer service division. She is a graduate of the University of North Florida.

-- University of North Florida associate professor Judith Rodriguez will receive the education award for her service and research in nutritional education. Rodriguez has worked as a consultant on national health and nutrition studies of U.S. Hispanics and has written a book on the subject: Contemporary Nutrition for Latinos.

-- Colombia native Julio Ospina will be given a cultural award for his dedication to the Cultural Earth Mestizo Group. The organization promotes understanding and the conservation of cultural music, dance and theater.

-- The Rev. Luis F. Flores will receive the religion award. Flores is the director of the Hispanic ministry of the St. Augustine Diocese.

-- Carlos Torellas, a native of Puerto Rico, will receive the Gaston Acosta Rua Medical Award for service in psychiatry.

-- Nicaragua native Silvia Pulido will be honored with the business award. She is the owner of Havana-Jax Cafe, a restaurant on Atlantic Boulevard.



Hispanics accounted for 16.8 percent of Florida's residents in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, up from 8.8 percent in 1980.

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