Veteran Belizean broadcaster Dr. Rene Villanueva accepted the Distinguished Person of the Year Award on Saturday at a Gala hosted by the United Belizeans of Northern Illinois
Celebrating their 8th Annual Awards and Scholarship Gala at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Gurnee, Illinois, the non-profit 40- member organization toasted three awardees and thirteen scholarship recipients.
Awardees included Mirtha Vidal, a hospice caregiver originally from Benque Viejo del Carmen awarded the Distinguished Service Award, Michael Nerheim, Lake County State’s Attorney awarded Distinguished Partner of the Year, and Dr. Gene C. Crome Jr, President of Judson University also awarded the Distinguished Service Award.
College scholarships were awarded to Kadir Castellanos. Areli Calderon, Anahi Canul, Kelsie Lamb, Sugeli Mai, Rolando Santos and Elizabeth Valdez.
High school scholarships were awarded to Ismael Longsworth, Lishawn Lian Coc, Jair Mora, Estrellita Tuyub, Arcela Tush and Analee Requena. Each awardees represented a District in Belize.
On behalf of Love FM Foundation, Dr. Rene Villanueva accepted a check for $US 2,000.00 from UBNI and also delivered the Keynote Address. His remarks were directed specifically to the young scholars encouraging them to utilize all their God-given talent and to be a positive force in the community.
President Wayne Bowen welcomed more than three-hundred attendees which included local officials and representatives of various Belizean community organizations.
Also attending were various reigning pageant Queens including Queen of the Bay Illinois 2018, Miss Sarida Anderson; Miss. Y Illinois 2018 Miss Lavern Shelly Andrews, and Miss Y Illinois 2017 Mrs. Idolly Conorqui-Abrams accompanied by Dr. Birdy Haggerty and Ms. Laura Cacho.
Master of Ceremony for the charitable event was Karl E. Villanueva. President of the Preservation of Belizean History and Culture Foundation of Chicago.
DJ King Lion and DJ Cassanova provided music for a grand dance that followed.
Chairperson Lety Castellanos gave the closing remarks and conducted various raffles offering various Belizean products.
》Photos below are from official Gala and Pre-Gala festivities hosted by Mrs. Lety Castellanos.