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Life and Arts

Latino association announces awards

The Glendale Latino Assn. announced its Woman of the Year, Man of the Year and Organization of the Year for 2012.

The following members will be presented with a Community Award on Feb. 23 at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club.

Denise Miller, Woman of the Year, is the director of the Live Well (55+) Senior Program at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. She is responsible for navigating seniors and their families toward easier access to health-care information, resources and wellness and prevention programs within the hospital and in the community. Before 2011, Denise was manager of physician relations, responsible for cultivating relationships with individual physicians, clinics, physician groups and their staffs. Denise received her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy and psychology from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., in 1989. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from La Sierra University in Riverside.

Gary Montecuollo, Man of the Year, is the chief of police for Glendale Community College.


He served with the Glendale Police Department for 30 years, working in criminal investigations, tactical investigations and personnel administration.

Montecuollo was hired by Glendale Community College in September 2011 as its new chief. Since his arrival, he has organized committee task forces to address emergency preparedness and work with at-risk students. He updated the mass notification system and coordinated active shooter training as well as other advanced training for his staff. He continues to teach as an adjunct faculty member in the Administration of Justice program. In one of his community relations classes, Montecuollo encourages his students to volunteer in the community as he does for programs such as the Downtown Dash, Derby Day and Relay for Life.

The Organization of the Year is Sadd-Velazquez-Higashi-Shammaa, Certified Public Accountants & Advisors

John Sadd and Mike Velazquez merged their two firms to form Sadd-Velazquez-Higashi-Shammaa over two years ago.


They provide tax, financial and retirement planning for business owners, professionals and real estate investors.

Sadd and Velazquez are longtime friends and Glendale residents. Outside of their work at the firm, they are involved in community organizations such as the Kiwanis Club of Glendale, the Community Foundation of the Verdugos, the Glendale Educational Foundation, GAR Serves, Glendale Youth Alliance, Glendale Arts and the Glendale Latino Assn., among others.

The Glendale Latino Assn. was formerly the Glendale Hispanic and Professional Organization, established in 1991 by Isabel Ibarra.

The organization’s mission is to improve access to education by awarding scholarships to Latino students seeking higher education. It also brings profesional Latinos of Glendale together to enhance those businesses and relationships.

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--Mercy Velazquez, immediate past president of the Glendale Latino Assn.