Chula Vista Recognizes Outstanding Residents
The City of Chula Vista celebrated the many outstanding individuals who live and work in the community as part of its City of Champions celebration, held this Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Elite Training Center.
The ceremony recognized excellence in community service, sports, and academics, among other areas.
Approximately 200 individuals who were nominated by members of the community were awarded with a medal and the title of “Champion of Chula Vista.” According to a statement from the City, over 500 award nominations were received for this ceremony.
“It is the greatest thing to be the mayor of Chula Vista and realize that I live with such a wonderful, awesome community that has champions all around,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas during the event’s opening remarks.
The keynote address for this ceremony was delivered by Lex Gillette, a four-time paralympic medalist and three-time para athletic champion in the long jump.
Gillette used his life experience with blindness to speak about having a greater vision for one’s self and encouraged attendees to use that vision to keep improving the lives of others.
“Some of you might see something for yourself, but what has really propelled you all to be here is seeing something for those around you,” said Gillette. “Always think about the value you add to people’s lives and think about lifting people up, that’s what It means to be a champion.”
Among the day’s honorees in were Chula Vista Police Officer Fred Rowbotham, who guided people to safety at the Route 91 Music festival shooting in Las Vegas; Lisbet Perez, director of Alliance for Hope and an advocate against domestic abuse; Kevin Marshall, former Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce president, among many others.
Dulce Aguirre, who was recognized for her great philanthropic aid to immigrant communities through her work with human rights group Border Angels, said to La Prensa San Diego that being recognized is a form of encouragement for her to continue her work.
“This award represents all of the work we do with Border angels and it represents strength and motivation to continue helping all migrants and the community we serve,” Aguirre said.
Maria Elena Coronado, of the State of California Department of Employment, said that it is an honor to be among the people recognized by Chula Vista.
“It is an honor to receive a medal from the City I live in by the mayor,” said Coronado. “I am surrounded by people with the charisma and love to help those around them and I felt a lot of excitement on stage.”
For immigration attorney and DACA activist Dulce Garcia, being recognized with an award from the City is part of a larger statement to her.
“Being awarded means that Chula Vista continues to support DACA recipients, Dreamers, and immigrant communities. It recognizes that we are in a fight and have the love and support form our city to continue our fight,” Garcia said.