(BRENTWOOD, NY) – On Thursday, October 15th, Suffolk County Legislator Sam Gonzalez hosted a virtual event to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Seven Hispanic-Americans were honored for their dedication, imprint on our community, and contributions to aiding the wellbeing of others.
“I am honored to celebrate the incredible contributions these outstanding Hispanic-American individuals have made to our community,” said Legislator Gonzalez. “This year’s distinguished group of honorees have truly devoted themselves to alleviating the struggles of others and have displayed exemplary leadership within the community.”
Angel Amaya is the Brentwood High School Class of 2020 Valedictorian and was honored for his incredible work and accomplishments. Angel is currently studying at Yale University and is in pursuit of a career in epidemiology. Angel hopes to receive grant funding to help work on therapies to help immunocompromised people and the elderly within our community.
Elvia Salinas Kahyaoglu is the current Secretary of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce and a Senior Broker Assistant at Sir Winston Realty, and consistently highlights her dedication to the community through her continued leadership. Elvia has helped support businesses and residents, organized community events that distribute meals and clothing to the homeless, and has most recently distributed facemasks and thermometers to local businesses.
Francia Isdith is the current Town of Islip Marriage Officer and Minister of Marriages, who overcame significant struggles throughout her childhood and life to now become an active and giving member of the community. Francia is a recipient of the “Gente” award in 2012 and 2015 received an award from the Colombia Consulate in Manhattan for her outstanding work in the Town of Islip.
Gloria Jaramillo is a proud member of the Brentwood Union Free School District, where she serves as a bilingual school counselor, aiding students in achieving their dreams. Gloria is the founder of “the Dreamers” program, which helps at risk students become self-motivated, high achieving students and successfully earn a high school diploma. Gloria’s continued impact on the lives of students within the district drives her incredible work.
Officer Matias Ferreira is a Suffolk County Police Officer and former Machine Gunner assigned to the 1st Battalion 8th Marines 2nd Marine Division, stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. During Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Matias stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device), which caused him to lose both legs below the knees. Matias is a recipient of the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, and Navy Unit Citation. Matias enjoys volunteering with numerous nonprofit organizations that focus on rehabilitation and renewing your faith, and serves as the first Double Amputee Patrolman in the entire country as well as the Vice President of the Suffolk County Police Hispanic Society.
Kathya Martinez is a native Ecuadorian, and has worked in media communications for over eight years. Kathya opens and manages correspondence and communication between clients, customers, and Latinx owned businesses to get projects done. She has been recognized as the “Top Package Producer” in 2018 and 2019 at the Multimedia Contest. Kathya holds an MBA in Marketing from Guayaquil University, and has been seen actively participating in weekly services at St. Anne’s church, including soup kitchen food distributions. She has assisted the Parish Outreach office in donating food to over 250 families, and 1300 individuals that were in weekly.
John Gutierrez, better known as John G, was born in Cali, Colombia, and began his career as a DJ at the age of 15. In 2010, John joined La Fiesta 98.5 FM as Production Director and on air jock for the afternoon drive on the only Spanish radio station on Long Island. His passion extends to aiding the Latino Community in using his platform to advocate for support and ending injustice. John is always present and goes the extra mile without hesitation to bring aid to those in need.
“Our Hispanic Heritage Month celebration provides us with an opportunity to personally thank and recognize these incredible, overlooked Hispanic-American heroes for setting an example, being trailblazers for other individuals in the community, and uniting us through the process,” said Legislator Gonzalez.