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Local Hero Awards

SAN DIEGO – Sept. 1, 2008 – To recognize outstanding leaders who have made a difference within the Latino community, Union Bank of California and KPBS are honoring six San Diego Latinos with Local H

SAN DIEGO – Sept. 1, 2008 – To recognize outstanding leaders who have made a difference within the Latino community, Union Bank of California and KPBS are honoring six San Diego Latinos with Local Hero of the Year Awards. Awards will be presented Sept. 17 as part of Hispanic Heritage Month at the KPBS Copley Telecommunications Center at San Diego State University.  The celebration will recognize heroes for their exceptional commitment and contribution to San Diego’s Latino community through art, business, community activism, education and social services. 

These San Diego men and women have given generously of their time and resources to better our communities,” said Maria Gallo, senior vice president and manager of Union Bank’s diverse markets administration. “This event is our way of thanking these individuals and showcasing their achievements as a way to inspire others.”

Each year, I have the unique opportunity to meet an outstanding group of individuals,” said Doug Myrland, KPBS General Manager. “We are honored to be a part of this event and promote the accomplishments of these local heroes to the San Diego community on KPBS TV, radio and”


Heroes recognized at the event include:

Maria L. Chavez, executive director,Migrant Education Program Region IX, for her commitment to education.  Born in Mexicali, Mexico, to migrant farm workers, Chavez has dedicated her life and career to working in education with migrant students and their families.  For more than 25 years, Chavez has served as a teacher, program specialist, school principal and a consultant for the California Department of Education and has worked with parents to show them how they can involve themselves more in the education of their children.

Carmen and Henry Delgadillo, founders, Friends of Scott Foundation, for their commitment to social services.  After losing their youngest son, Scott, to cancer, the Delgadillos founded the Friends of Scott Foundation to provide resources to help ensure other children and families battling cancer receive the emotional and financial support needed to cope with the devastating disease.  The foundation offers a literacy program, a support program for parents, financial assistance, a backpack program and scholarships.

Evelyn Díaz Cruz, theater arts assistant professor, University of San Diego, for her commitment to the arts.  Díaz Cruz is a theater artist and educator with experience in writing, directing and acting.  She is currently producing a play called “La Lupe!,” which documents the tumultuous life of a legendary salsa diva.  As an assistant professor of theater arts, Cruz shares her love of theater with her students at the University of San Diego.

Mery Lopez-Gallo, community affairs director, Univision Radio, for her commitment to community activism.  Lopez-Gallo is the producer and host of “De Viva Voz,” a program that has empowered the Hispanic community with important information for the last decade.  With Univision Radio, she produced the pro-bono “Migrant Safety Campaign” for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency that helped create awareness about the dangers of smuggling women and children into the country.  Her dedication has been recognized by the San Diego Broadcasters Association, MADD’s National Media Award and the California Chicano News Media Association’s La Pluma Award for best Spanish radio program.


Lidia S. Martinez, corporate community affairs manager, Southwest Airlines, for her commitment to business.  Martinez now serves as Southwest’s corporate community affairs manager for both its Hispanic and non-Hispanic markets in California, the Pacific Northwest, Chicago and Washington, D.C.  Martinez is heavily involved in organizations dedicated to empowering Hispanic communities and was recently elected board chair of Mexican American National Association, an organization that empowers Latinas through leadership development, community service and advocacy.

To make reservation for the Local Hero of the Year Awards, please contact KPBS at (619) 594-6787 or visit 

Based in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation (NYSE: UB) is a bank holding company with assets of $60.6 billion at June 30, 2008.  Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank of California, N.A., had 337 banking offices in California, Oregon and Washington, and two international offices at June 30, 2008.  The company's Web site is located

KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University, serving the region with TV, radio and Internet content that is educational as well as entertaining – and free of commercial interruption.