The eighteenth presentation of the Sor Isolina Ferré awards, held today, was nuanced by the vicissitudes that the country has faced during the past year, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the earthquakes in the southwest.
Thus, for example, the contribution to the society of Nicole Alois Rosario Lopez, an 18-year-old girl who, between December and January, moved on several occasions to offer help to victims of the towns affected by the earthquakes.
“He excelled at packing and distributing food for animals, he worked in the Humacao municipality collection center, sent first aid items, clothing and motivation letters,” reads part of the profile read during a ceremony marked by physical distancing in The capitol.
Ferré, who died in 2000, was a religious from Ponce who, among many achievements, founded in 1968 the Sor Isolina Ferré Centers in the La Playa sector of Ponce. There they began to provide services to young people and families with limited resources. In 1988 a similar concept was founded in the Caimito neighborhood of San Juan.
The winners selected for the Sor Isolina Ferré Award for Excellence in Service to Others in the Community Development category, in addition to Nicole, were: Carmen Villanueva Castro, Adrián Vázquez Bandas and Wilfredo Cameron Santiago.
Cameron Santiago, chaplain in Arecibo, was recognized, among other things, for distributing essential items for the prevention of Covid-19.
Those chosen in the Health category were the Dr. Ana Judith Román García -first neurologist in Puerto Rico- and the reverend Philip Andrew Neenan. The winners in the Prevention category were: Carlos Matos Medina and the priest Javier Aquino Florenciani.
Matos Medina rescued the closed Ramón Baldorioty de Castro school in Ponce and served as a refuge for 400 people after the December and January earthquakes.
In the Education category they were awarded María del Carmen Warren, Ada Monzón and Jacklyne Ortiz Vélez, while in the culture category they were decorated Jonathan Hernandez Leon and the Dr. Frances Colón Jiménez.
Warren has been a leader in the struggle of parents of children with disabilities. Monzón has become known through the media as a communicator and meteorologist, being the first Puerto Rican to achieve this scientific degree.
Contrary to what has been the custom for years in which five people have been decorated, this time there were 13 due to the record number of nominations received.
“You have turned your potential into a postulate of love and service to others. Each of you represents the Good Samaritan who, bearing desire and action upon his men, raises up the fallen. Today we recognize and celebrate the work of Sor Isolina “said Luis Ortiz Ortiz, Chief Executive Officer of the Sor Isolina Ferré Centers.
Pride of Yauco
Born in New York, Hernández León came to the “Pueblo del café” at the age of three and has been responsible for the beautiful pieces of art that embellish its urban area.
“I do the project to strengthen the economic development of the urban center of Yauco. The shopping centers have displaced the urban centers … but the culture, architecture and history of each town is in the urban cases. I want thousands of people to go to the urban area ”, he said.
Colón Jiménez became the first Puerto Rican person to achieve the position of oboist in the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. Her passion for the wind instrument also led her to establish in 2009 the Oboe Mobile Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the teaching of the instrument on the island.
“We are a musical island and we use it for everything: protests, celebrations, a funeral, a baptism … everyone has the potential to develop their talent. It remains for us to help all those children who want to express their feelings through music and develop creatively. Music education is not a right, it is a privilege ”.