Buttenschon honors Dominican-American award recipients


UTICA — Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Utica, extended her congratulations to the local 2022 Dominican-American Awardees. This year’s honorees include a small business owner, restaurateurs, and an educator and community activist whose contributions to the Mohawk Valley have made our communities stronger, the assemblywoman said. 

“The Mohawk Valley is home to a number of Dominican and Dominican-American families. Our friends and neighbors of Dominican heritage play vital roles in education, labor, business, and community organizations,” said Buttenschon. “I am proud to recognize these three honorees and to celebrate the Dominican community. This year’s winners, Carmen Sonia Martinez, Simon Bueno, and the Rodriguez family have all made important contributions to the well-being of our communities.”

Among the 2022 winners are Carmen Sonia Martinez, who was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States in 1972, eventually settling in Herkimer County. A graduate of Herkimer Community College, Martinez worked in healthcare for 27 years before serving the Utica community as a Spanish language coach in the Utica City School District.

Martinez is also the executive director of the Mohawk Valley Latino Association, an organization for which she also volunteered for many years. 

Bueno is the owner of the Bueno Express Transportation Corp. He was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the U.S. in 1989, living in the Mohawk Valley for nearly 20 years with wife, Immaculada, and his children.

Bueno Express Transportation Corp. has operated since 2008, offering door to door transportation from Central New York to New York City, New Jersey, and Newburgh.

Also honored was the Rodriguez family. Willie, and children Jennifer and Ronny operate two restaurants in Utica.

Willie’s Bagel Cafe in North Utica and Willie’s Gourmet Café have served both local customers and visitors to the community.

“I want to congratulate each of this year’s winners. This is an honor each of you truly deserve. I hope New Yorkers, whether Dominican or not, learn from your example of public service,” Buttenschon stated.


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