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City honors Latino residents with Impact Awards

via Eagle Tribune


A dozen residents were celebrated for their commitment to the city of Lawrence last week during a ceremony attended by Mayor Daniel Rivera and other community leaders to cap off Hispanic Heritage Month.


Due to the coronavirus crisis, Lawrence's annual Impact Awards went virtual to keep people safe from COVID-19. But as Rivera explained, the pomp and circumstance was still felt as much as ever.


Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.


"There's so much to celebrate," said Rivera, who added that 2020 was the seventh year the city has hosted an Impact Awards ceremony to honor members of the Latino community.


"This hasn't been like any other year we've expected. Imagine coming over to this country to find a pandemic, or a gas crisis, compared to what you had. It's a good thing that (we're) celebrating this. When there's a crisis, the people of Lawrence stand up."


Vilma Martinez-Dominguez, the city's community development director, served as the emcee, sharing information about each honoree and their work for an audience on Facebook Live.


The Thursday, Oct. 15 awards ceremony remains archived for viewing on Rivera's Facebook page.


"Tonight is about what it means to be a true Lawrencian at heart," summed up Martinez-Dominguez.


This year's Impact Award winners are:


* Nelson Butten, director of community, family and student engagement, Lawrence Public Schools: 2020 Education Award;


* Detective Marco Ayala, Lawrence Police Department: 2020 Public Safety Award;


* Dr. Eduardo Haddad, nephrologist, Lawrence General Hospital, Holy Family Hospital: 2020 Public Health Award;


* Julissa Nunez, community advocate: 2020 Adult Community Activist Award;


* Amaryllis Lopez, program director, Elevated Thought: 2020 Youth Community Activist Award;


* Wendy Estrella, attorney, Estrella Law Office: 2020 Community Focused Entrepreneurship Award;


* Wismelda Perez, food inspector, city of Lawrence: 2020 Public Servant Award;


* Juan Melo, pastor, Iglesia De Dios De La Profecia: 2020 Faith Community Award;


* Julia Polanco, founder/executive director, Food for the World Inc.: 2020 Unsung Hero Award;


* Jason Reyes, founder, JReyes Designs LLC: 2020 Impactful Artist Award;


* Niovy Ramierez, registration supervisor, Lawrence General Hospital; Lissette Torres, community health worker, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center: 2020 Stop the Spread Award;


* Undisclosed honoree to be announced: 2020 Lawrence Cultural Ambassador.



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