Mercy Velazquez

Mercy Velazquez, the Glendale Latino Association's 2014 Woman of the Year. (Courtesy of Mike Velazquez / January 11, 2014)

In keeping with its stated mission of inclusion, the Glendale Latino Assn. chose a top city official, one of its own, and a hospital for its top honors.

Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa, Mercy Velazquez, a past president of the organization, and Glendale Adventist Medical Center received nods for the man, woman and business of the year.

“It’s a tremendous honor for me because the GLA does so many wonderful things in the community,” Ochoa, 42, said. “From awarding scholarships to students allowing them to realize their own potential, to facilitating growth and development among business professionals, to simply being a positive force in the community. To receive this recognition from this group of community leaders is truly special and humbling.”

Ochoa said he became an active member of the GLA since taking the city’s head job two years ago and speaks highly of its community activism.

“The GLA is everything a community volunteer group should be — engaged, interesting, driven and fun. Though the Latino culture is an identifier for GLA, the group is completely inclusive and the only prerequisite is that you care about making Glendale a better place,” he said.

Ochoa, a native of Azusa, moved to Glendale shortly after taking the job. He and his wife, Sophia, have two children, Nicolas and Tessia.

Velazquez, 59, is chief executive of the Arturo Sandoval Institute, which aims to promote a love of music in children. Born in Cuba and raised in Puerto Rico, she calls herself “Cuba-Rican.” She moved to Glendale more than 30 years ago and is involved in several organizations, including the Glendale Kiwanis Club, the GLA, serves on the Citizens Advisory Council to the Chief of the Glendale Police Department, is director of the Oakmont League and is past president of the Montrose-Verdugo Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s an honor getting this award from the Glendale Latino Assn.,” Velazquez said. “I started with them 10 years ago. We practically took it from nothing to what it is now.”

Velazquez has been married to Michael Velazquez for 37 years and has three children, Michael, 35, Gabriel, 34, and Tatiana, 29.

Glendale Adventist Medical Center spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez said the hospital is honored to receive GLA’s Business of the Year award.

“The sole mission of the hospital as an organization is to meet the physical, mental and spiritual needs of the community,” Gonzalez said. “While the core of that mission is related to the services the hospital provides internally, it also includes a commitment to creating a healthy physical environment of wellness externally. Our mission is to share God’s love in the community by promoting healing and wellness for the whole person.

“We thank the Glendale Latino Assn. for the honor,” Gonzalez said.

A GLA fundraising luncheon to honor the award winners is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Oakmont Country Club. Call (818) 557-7700 or visit www.glendalelatinoassociation.com for more information.

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Follow Tim Traeger on Twitter: @TraegerTim.

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