FREEPORT — The Brazoria County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s eighth annual Latin Awards Gala on Thursday night provided food, dancing and the message of inclusivity combined with the importance of education.
Chamber President Gina Aguirre Adams spoke at Freeport RiverPlace, 733 Mystery Harbor Lane, about the growth the chamber has experienced and the support the group provides to Brazoria County.
“We have had a busy year and I am so grateful to have made some friends along the way,” she said.
Adams also announced some projects the chamber is working on this year, such as quarterly luncheons, which aim to bring members across the county together, she said.
The chamber also will put a magnifying glass on local business support, Adams said.
“We will be having more workshops for our local businesses,” she said.
Later in the evening, the chamber gave out a series of awards to individuals and businesses.
The Embajador of the Year award went to Realtor Noelia Benavides for her dedication to growing the hispanic chamber and the community.
The Small Business of the Year award went to Non-Destructive Inspection Company for their work aiding local families who need help remodeling their homes.
The Nonprofit of the Year award went to the Brazosport College for its assistance in teaching county residents and making education a vital objective for the community.
Lynda Villanueva, provost and vice president of Student and Academic Affairs at Brazosport College, accepted the award on behalf of the college.
“Our mission is to improve the quality of lives of those we serve in the community,” she said
The Corporate Business of the Year award went to Texas Dow Employees Credit Union for both its sponsorship and involvement in the chamber’s communities.
The Chairwoman’s Award of Excellence went to Ashly Ramos, who has provided constant commitment to residents and the chamber.
Perhaps the lengthiest introduction of the night went to guest speaker Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz. Muñoz serves as president of the University of Houston-Downtown.
Under his leadership, the University of Houston-Downtown has experienced growth, and the college posted its first enrollment increase in four years and exceeded its largest capital campaign goal, according to a pamphlet from the chamber.
Muñoz also helped steer about $80 million in capital projects with more to come, according to the chamber.
Muñoz spoke to the crowd about chambers having the ability to unite communities.
“This is what chambers do, all chambers,” he said. “We want to drive the quality of life for people that we hope to support. We want to improve our communities.”