Latinos of positive influence honored

ROCHESTER — The city presented two Latino of Positive Influence Awards (LOPI) during the closing Hispanic Heritage Month gala last month at City Hall.

Melisa Vega, a member of the city’s Hispanic Heritage Month committee, said that the group created the LOPI awards to recognize Latinos contributing positively to the community. The Oct. 14 gala included music, food and dancing.

Nancy Padilla, who in the 1980s was the first Latina to run for mayor in Rochester, was honored for her professional achievement. She also previously served as a Rochester City School District board member and board president. Padilla, who now works at the Monroe County Board of Elections, also was executive director for the Puerto Rican Youth Development and Resource Center, which is now an Ibero-American Action League subsidiary.

"Her entire life has been committed to giving a voice to those who did not have one," said Rosemary Villarrubia, who nominated Padilla and presented the award.

David Valle, a pastor with Faith Temple, was honored for his community service in creating programs for Latinos at his congregation. Jose Cruz, Ibero’s chief operating officer and winner of last year’s inaugural LOPI award, presented Valle with the award.

In presenting the award, he cited a comment from Valle: "If everybody put just a little bit into the pot, we’d make the world a better place."

A special FAMILIA (Families Achieving Merit Inspiring Latinos Influencing America) went to Florentino and Theresa Tobar of Rochester.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To view profiles of the award winners, visit

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