NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day recognized five people and two organizations for the contributions made by the local Dominican-American community on Friday.
Day also issued a proclamation celebrating Dominican Independence Day, which will be observed on Monday.
"We congratulate you, our Rockland residents of Dominican descent, on the 173rd anniversary of independence for the Dominican Republic," he said. "We know that the struggle for independence in the Dominican Republic was difficult and hard-won, as it was here in the United States of America."
Day noted that the people of Dominican ancestry are a powerful force in Rockland.
According to census figures, 22 percent of Rockland's population is foreign born and more than half of Rockland's foreign-born population was born in Latin America.
The same figures show that nearly 9 percent of Rockland's foreign-born population comes from the Dominican Republic.
"We honor the contributions you have made to this community," he said. "Rockland is a better place because you are here."
The County Executive presented a proclamation congratulating Rockland's Dominican Community to Lucy Redzeposki, Rockland's director of Economic Growth & Tourism and native of the Dominican Republic.
"Lucy has made herself indispensable to Rockland. She represents the best in a manager, professional, immigrant and, to many of us here in Rockland County, a friend," Day said. "We are proud of her here and the Dominican-American community should be proud of her as well."
She has dedicated herself to growing Rockland's economy by concentrating on four specific areas: innovation, location, support and talent. She has extensive experience in workforce development and she also operates a private consulting firm providing grant writing and business management services throughout New York. She has over 20 years teaching experience as an adjunct college professor .
Lucy received a computer science degree from Fordham University and an MBA in Strategic Management from Pace University. She is married with two children and is very proud that both graduated from college in 2016 – one from Boston College and the other Penn State.
Day also honored:
• Vilma Lopez, proprietor of Vilma's Bakery.
Vilma loves to bake and started out making baked goods for her family and friends. Vilma dreamed of owning her own bakery and was able to realize her dream when in 2011 she opened Vilma's Bakery in Haverstraw. The bakery known for having the best Dominican cakes in Rockland County. They offer custom cakes, pastries, fresh bread, and much more.
Vilma's business acumen and welcoming personality has made the bakery a huge success. She attributes her success to the unconditional support that she has received from her family, friends, clients and the Haverstraw community. She is married and has 3 children.
• Lidio Bautista, owner of Professional Care Auto Repair
Lidio started his own business in 2000 when he opened Professional Care Auto Repair in West Haverstraw. He has earned the trust of his customers by providing excellent customer service and successfully fixing their vehicles as efficiently as possible.
He is an honest man who truly cares about the quality of his work. He is married and has six children, two of whom are honor students in high school and one is a student at RCC. He is an active member of the Hispanic Lions Club of Rockland and can always be counted on when needed.
• Rosalia Sosa, New York City Police Officer and Gospel Singer
Rosalia balances her work as a police officer and singer with motherhood. She is very active at Kingsgate Church in Woodland Park, N.J. She has been a police officer since 2000. She is the coordinator for the Auxiliary Police program in Transit District One in New York City.
She is a talented singer and performs throughout the region. Rosalia is married and the proud mother of three children. One is a student at RCC and the other graduated from RCC and continued on to John Jay College.
• Alba Garcia, Farmers Insurance, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Alba has lived in Rockland since she immigrated from the Dominican Republic when she was seven. In 1995, she began helping the Hispanic community with their insurance needs. She now has two offices in Haverstraw. Alba enjoys working with her customers and is an active member of the community. She can always be counted on to assist the community. When eight Haverstraw families lost their homes to a fire, Alba stepped in and donated mattresses for each family. She is married to Agustin Fernandez, owner of New City Auto Spa, and they have three children. They are members of the Fraternal Order of Police and also the Spanish Police Association.
Two organizations that serve the Dominican community in Rockland County were also honored.
• The Quisqueya Sports Club and Fernando Pena, president.
The club was founded in 1970 to serve as a gathering place for the Dominican community in Haverstraw. The Club plays an important role in helping Dominican immigrants assimilate. The club provides ESL classes as well as citizenship training.
Over the years, they have organized 4 baseball teams that compete with teams in the Dominican Republic. They also have 4 domino teams which play against other Dominican clubs within the Tri-State area. Quisqueya Sports Club hosts events such as community meetings, private parties and other celebrations.
• Casa de la Cultura Dominicana, Julia Urena, director:
This Haverstraw organization was formed in 1994 under the leadership of Julia Urena to teach Dominican culture. This includes dance lessons (merengue and bachata), etiquette, modeling, and Zumba classes. The club organizes a yearly Beauty Pageant and the Dominican Parade Festival in Haverstraw.
The club is a haven for young people in the community who enjoy the activities while receiving guidance and mentoring.