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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Latino Community Development Agency (LCDA) in south OKC helps over 40 thousand people every year.

The upward life trajectory of Lizette Valle is the result of the kind of help the agency has been giving to Hispanic youth in Oklahoma City for the 30 years of their existence.

She was born in Oklahoma City and came to them as a single mother. The agency helped her get the resources her young family needed and now both of her kids have attended the Tony Reyes Bilingual Childhood Center since 2017.

“Not only do they [LCDA] care about the kids but they also care about the parents and want to make sure that we are fine and that we have everything we need in order to function properly for our kids,” Valle told Free Press.

“When I first went to them, I was not only a teen mom, I was a single mom. They’ve helped me so much and I think they just saw how hard I struggled, but I still got back up.”

Valle and others received awards as the LCDA celebrated its 30th anniversary with a recognition and awards luncheon in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Wednesday, September 29th.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, and Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister were present to celebrate the milestone and enjoy the chile relleno with chicken, fried plantains, and rice served to more than 500 attendees.

Awards

Eight individuals, one family, and one partner received awards for their contributions towards the development of the agency and community.

Lizette Valle and her family won the Family of the Year Award plus a $1000 dollars cash gift sponsored by the National Hispanic Federation.

She said that she values having her children at the Tony Reyes Center because they want to make sure parents are fine in their everyday lives. “It is really hard finding someone you trust,” Valle said. “I have to work a lot to provide a decent life for my babies.”

Mayor David Holt received the Honorary Chair Award.

Jaime Luna and Irma Esqueda won the Employees of the Year Award. The agency described Luna and Esqueda as relentless workers and highlighted their resilience through the Covid pandemic.

Latino
Irma Esqueda (L) and Jaime Luna hold their Best Employee of the Year Awards given at the Awards Luncheon by the Latino Community Development Agency September 22, 2021. (PABLO ANGULO-GONZALEZ/Okla City Free Press)

Chris Fusselman, a second-generation Hispanic-American from Oklahoma, received the LCDA Board Member of the Year Award. He oversees nine Spanish TV and radio stations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa as the Vice-President of Sales for Tyler Media. 

He was recognized for his involvement in the community and his helpfulness with the agency’s marketing efforts.

Guardian Angel award

Joe Cardenas received the Guardian Angel Award for his 12 year-long contributions to the center serving different roles such as member of the Development Committee, Annual Luncheon Committee, or Board Member several terms. 

Cardenas is also an Ambassador of the Greater Oklahoma City and Edmond Chambers.  

Lifetime Achievement award

The LCDA recognized the late Armando Rubio with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment and dedication to the Latino community in Oklahoma. The El Paso, Texas native was raised in Juarez, Mexico, and then moved to Oklahoma where he pioneered and helped develop Spanish-speaking radio and television media. 

Throughout his life, Rubio also served various nonprofit boards and his legacy will be carried through an LCDA college scholarship under his name.

Media and partner awards

Nancy Galvan got the Excellence in Media-Radio Award for her hard work and contribution to the Hispanic community in Oklahoma. Galvan started the first Hispanic radio in Oklahoma City in 1989.   

Alejandra Briones, a KOCO news anchor, received the Mistress of Ceremonies Award. 

The agency presented the Partner Award to Bank of America for the continued funding provided since 2013, after the deadly tornado season, towards a multiplicity of programs and overall operational costs throughout the years. 

Chauncey Shilloh was the announcer for the event.

Last Updated September 22, 2021, 7:55 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor