Music, dancing, and great food filled the air on Wednesday evening as County Executive Robert P. Astorino in conjunction with the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted a “Hispanic Heritage Month” celebration at Sofrito Restaurant in White Plains. At the event, Astorino honored three exceptional Hispanic Westchester residents for their career accomplishments and contributions to their communities.
The event drew more than 135 people and was emceed by reporter Ana Ledo from Noticias Univision 41. Astorino addressed the lively crowd in Spanish. He thanked TD Bank, White Plains Hospital, Entergy, Pernod Ricard, and Tommie Copper for sponsoring the event and congratulated the honorees.
“Hispanics are a vibrant and vital part of our community,” said Astorino. “Westchester has more than 600 Hispanic-run businesses that fuel our economy and are the lifeblood of our neighborhoods. I am happy to honor three exceptional Hispanic Westchester County residents who have not only excelled in their careers, but have also taken time to give back to their communities.”
The three Hispanic Westchester residents honored by Astorino at the event were:
- Bernie Williams is a Puerto Rican native and a retired New York Yankees baseball legend. He is now a successful contemporary jazz musician holding two Billboard #1 singles on his second album, Moving Forward. Williams is also a long-time spokesperson for the Pleasantville-based non-profit organization Hillside Food Outreach.
- Armando Rodriguez is from Cuba and is president and CEO of A&A Maintenance, a national property maintenance company based in Yonkers. A&A Maintenance is one of the largest Hispanic-owned companies in America. Rodriguez serves on the board of directors of the Westchester County Association, the Westchester Arts Council board of trustees, and the board of trustees at his alma mater Iona College.
- Fabiola Montoya was born in Columbia and has helped hundreds of immigrants study and register for the American citizenship exam in Port Chester, which has the largest Hispanic population in the county at 59 percent. She is a civic activist in her hometown of Port Chester, where she was the first Hispanic president of the PTA for the J.F.K Magnet School; a former board member at Open Door; and a former board member of the Tamarack Tower Foundation.
Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized by Americans nationwide from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. It is a time for American citizens whose ancestors came from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries to celebrate their history and culture. Westchester County has approximately 210,000 Hispanic residents who account for about 22 percent of the county’s population—an increase of nearly 16 percent since 2000. Nearly one in six Westchester County residents speaks Spanish at home.