The Don Quijote Awards Gala is the premier business and professional recognition event for the Hispanic business community in Central Florida.

ORLANDO, FL (November 8, 2018)— Excitement builds for the 21st Annual Don Quijote Awards as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) and Prospera revealed the  finalists of four categories recognized at the event, along with this year’s Lifetime Achievement and Hispanic Community Champion award recipients during a press conference held today at The Plaza Live in Orlando, sponsored by Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and Wells Fargo.

The Don Quijote Awards recognize businesses and individuals committed to excellence and to the development of the region’s Hispanic community. The winner of each category will be announced at the 21st Don Quijote Awards Gala on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at Epcot’s World Showplace Pavilion.

The 2018 Don Quijote Awards finalists are:

Hispanic Business of the Year, Five Years or Less:

·         Carmona Law, owned by Omar Carmona

·         Nebbia Technology, owned by Esteban Garcia

·         Towers Contruction Corp., owned by Oskar Torres

Hispanic Business of the Year, More than Five Years:

·         Creaciones D’ Lucy & Bridal Shop, owned by Lucy Cavazos

·         Orlando Montessori Bilingual Academy, owned by Lucelis Torres

·         TS Skin Care, owned by Caroline Yachan

Professional of the Year:

·         Vicki Jaramillo, Orlando International Airport

·         Maritza Martinez, University of Central Florida

·         Dr. Giorgina Pinedo Rolon, City of Orlando

Excellence:

·         Yamile Luna, Florida Hospital

·         Maria Martinez, Retired, Rollins College

The Hispanic Community Champion and Lifetime Achievement awards recipients are uniquely chosen by the Don Quijote Awards Selection Committee.

Hispanic Community Champion Award

This award is given to a non-Hispanic individual who has led by example in supporting the progress of the Hispanic community in Central Florida. This year’s Hispanic Community Champion is Nancy Gidusko, who passed away earlier this year and left a legacy of service, commitment and leadership in Central Florida.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognizes an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to the development and empowerment of the Hispanic community in Central Florida. This year the honor goes to Janet Perez Eckles. She is an award-winning interpreter, as well as an author, mentor, ministry leader, radio host, and missionary, spreading her empowering message from Central Florida to South America. In addition to thriving in her award-winning career and despite her blindness, Janet has a deep passion and commitment to serve others and help them see the best of life.

“For two decades, Central Florida has embraced the opportunity to highlight the achievements and contributions of Hispanic professionals and entrepreneurs, consistently growing the event alongside the region’s Hispanic population,” said the 21st Don Quijote Awards Chair Christina Pinto, partner at MPC Wealth Management. “We will make this year’s gala the best one yet to raise funds to support the business development and community outreach programs conducted by the Hispanic Chamber and Prospera.”

“We are proud to recognize the contributions of these honorees who have made such a profound impact in our community. The Don Quijote Awards give us the opportunity to celebrate these leaders surrounded by the community they serve,” said Gaby Ortigoni, president of HCCMO.

“We are excited to once again host this important event alongside the Hispanic Chamber to celebrate the contributions of local Hispanic business owners and professionals. We are proud to present the 2018 Hispanic Community Champion award posthumously to Nancy Gidusko, whom we hold in very high esteem as a past Board of Directors member and ambassador of our mission for many years,” said Prospera President & CEO Augusto Sanabria. “In just one month we will gather at the Don Quijote Awards gala and discover who the winners are among the accomplished finalists announced today.”

The Don Quijote Awards are made possible thanks to the support of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Wells Fargo, Florida Blue, Florida Hospital, Universal Orlando, AARP, Bank of America, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, JPMorgan Chase, Nemours, Tupperware Brands, and Media Source Imagery, among others. For more information on the Don Quijote Awards, please visit http://www.donquijoteawards.com

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