YBOR CITY — The Ybor City Lions Club has held meetings at the Columbia Restaurant for more than 60 years, club president John Centinaro estimates.
So the club didn't have to look very far when deciding the next recipient of its Victor E. DiMaio Annual Achievement Award: Richard Gonzmart, president of the Columbia Restaurant Group.
The award, named for one of the founders of the Ybor City Lions Club, has been given each year for the past 22 years to an individual or entity that, Centinaro said, "excels in promoting and enhancing the Latin heritage and culture of Ybor City and the community."
"He deserves this award. Mr. Gonzmart has done so much for Ybor and the Tampa Bay community. His accomplishments are too numerous," Centinaro said.
Past winners include former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, former Tampa City Council member Mary Alvarez and Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, a Tampa native best known as the personal physician and longtime cornerman for Muhammad Ali.
Gonzmart will be honored at a banquet on Wednesday at — where else — the Columbia Restaurant. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with dinner being served at 7. The event is open to the public.
Gonzmart also is expected to receive two commendations, one from Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham and another from a member of the Tampa City Council.
For more information, contact Centinaro at (813) 933-1869 or [email protected]