2012 Latino Community Service Awards
2012 Winners and Awards Celebration
Congratulations to Lucia S. Aandahl, Lena L. Archuleta Community Service Award winner, and Guillermo "Bill" Vidal and Theresa K. Peña, recipients of the César Chávez Latino Leadership Hall of Fame Award.
The Awards Celebration was held Saturday, September 15, 10 a.m. at the Woodbury Branch Library. A reception followed the ceremony. This event kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 - October 15.
The Lena L. Archuleta Community Service Award
The Lena L. Archuleta Community Service Award is given annually to a Colorado resident of Latino descent who has taken an active role in the community, above and beyond paid employment. The recipient, nominated by members of the public, has made an impact on the cultural life of the community through his or her involvement with the Denver Public Library or another civic institution.
The 2012 Awardee, Lucia Aandahl was born in Mexico City where she lived until age 23. She lived next door to a Catholic Church, where she taught Catechism to children on Saturdays, and volunteered to arrange seating for Children’s Mass, on Sundays. Luci also enjoyed distributing candy to attendees.
As a young woman, Luci moved to Denver, Colorado, to study English, and it was here where she met her husband-to-be, Vaughan Aandahl. The Aandahls were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Kelda.
Luci volunteered at her daughter’s school, and also returned to Colorado Women’s College to earn her degree in bilingual education and sociology. She worked for DPS, as a teacher and elementary school principal.
Throughout her life, Luci has offered support for those in need. Luci has lived in the same community for 45 years, and often provides rides for her neighbors and friends – day or night – to the hospital, store or airport. As a Denver Public Library docent, Luci welcomed and assisted customers at the information desk. She not only helped customers find items, but often had a friendly chat with them.
Luci has cultivated friendships with women who have recently lost their husbands, helping them understand and cope.
Along with her dear friends Lena Archuleta and Dora Valdez, Luci was among the first members of Madrinas for Centro San Juan Diego, a group whose mission is to empower Hispanics through education, so they become faithful and integrated leaders in the Catholic Church and in the society.
As an Eucharistic Minister for Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Luci provides communion to the residents of Higgins Plaza, a retirement home, and has developed a warm relationship with those who attend Sunday services. She also visits residents who are unable to leave their home to attend church.
Luci continues to give her time and resources to help those in need and feels fortunate to be able to give back to her community.
Luci has given countless hours of her time to strengthen our community. This award recognizes her many contributions to the Latino community. We salute her and we thank her.
Past winners include: Lena L. Archuleta, Olibama Lopez Tushar, Beverly Martinez, Carlos Fresquez, Anthony J. Garcia, Magdalena Aguayo, Rosa Linda Aguirre, Clara Ricciardi, Florence "Flo" Hernández-Ramos and Rita Flores de Wallace.
Last year, a group of Lena’s friends came together to start an endowment in her name to provide ongoing funding for the Latino Awards program. If you would like to make a donation to the fund, please contact Diane Lapierre at 720-865-2048.
The César Chávez Latino Leadership Hall of Fame Award
The César Chávez Leadership Hall of Fame celebrates Coloradans of Latino descent, who have made a major contribution in a particular field that has positively impacted Denver’s Latino community. Each year two individuals, nominated by members of the public, are inducted into this prestigious Hall of Fame.
Mayor Michael B. Hancock appointed 2012 Inductee, Theresa K. Peña as the Executive Director of the Denver Education Compact where she worked through July 2012. The Compact is a cradle to career initiative designed to accelerate educational outcomes for Denver youth, which will assist in the economic success of the City.
Prior to working for the City & County of Denver, Theresa was elected to the Denver Public School Board of Education as an at-large representative in November 2003 and reelected in November 2007 for a second four-year term. Theresa was the first Latina elected to an at-large position in the City of Denver. In November 2005 she was selected by her colleagues to serve as the Board President for two terms. She is the first Latina to serve in this capacity.
Theresa is a Denver native. She graduated from East High School and then attended Pomona College where she received a BA in sociology. Theresa worked as an admissions counselor at Pomona. After leaving Pomona College she enrolled at Cornell University where she received her MBA with a concentration in finance and marketing. She worked at IBM as a financial analyst and then began a decade long career at US WEST where she had a successful career in marketing, human resources, operations and finance. Prior to joining the Board she worked with her husband in his business, Animal Eye Specialists, and her brother at his shop, Suavecito’s. Theresa has two children who attend Denver Public Schools. Her husband is a veterinary ophthalmologist.
She is a board member of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, the Public Education Business Coalition, the Denver Preschool Program, the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado and the Colorado Community College System. Theresa formerly served on the Council of Great City Schools, a national coalition of the nation’s largest urban public school systems, the Colorado Governor’s P20 Council, and the Colorado Higher Education Steering Committee.
This award recognizes the many countless hours of service and Theresa’s many contributions to the Latino community. We salute her and we thank her.
2012 Inductee, Guillermo “Bill” Vidal is a native of Camagüey, Cuba. His parents sent Vidal and his two brothers to the U.S. in 1961 via “Operation Peter Pan,” a program that placed over 14,000 children in foster homes or orphanages. Once in the U.S., the Vidal boys were sent to Sacred Heart Orphanage in Pueblo, Colorado. The family was reunited four years later.
Vidal graduated from the University of Colorado with a civil engineering degree. He joined the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), where he worked for 23 years and was promoted to the post of executive director as an appointee of Colorado Governor Roy Romer in 1994. During his tenure with CDOT Vidal was responsible for many construction projects including the I-25/I-70 Interchange (the “Mousetrap”), C-470 and the North I-25 HOV lanes.
After his tenure with CDOT, a board of elected officials from fifty local governments that make up the Denver metropolitan region selected Vidal to head the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). Among Vidal’s best known accomplishments are the adoption of the 20 Year Regional Transportation and Clean Water Plans, the investment of $40 million of DRCOG funds into two critical regional projects, the Central Platte Valley Light Rail spur and Denver Union Station.
During his time as Executive Director of DRCOG, newly elected Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, persuaded Vidal to join his Cabinet and become Deputy Mayor and Manager of Public Works for the City and County of Denver. In addition to his role with Public Works, Vidal served as Deputy Mayor for seven years. After Mayor Hickenlooper was elected Governor of Colorado, Vidal assumed the role of the 44th Mayor of Denver in January 2011, becoming the City’s first foreign-born Mayor. Today, Vidal serves as the President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver.
Past inductees include: Ruben Valdez, Lena L. Archuleta, Manuel “Sam” Sandos, Polly Baca, Rudolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Mary Baca, The Honorable Roger Cisneros, Rosemary Rodriguez, Senator Ken Salazar, Reverend Lucia Gúzman, Secretary Federico Peña, Flora Rodriquez Russel, Patricia Barela Rivera, Salvadore (Sal) Carpio Jr., Katherine Archuleta, Jim Garcia, Denise Maes, Bernard “Bernie” Valdez, Dr Patricia Baca and Carlos Castañeda.