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Tampa Hispanic Heritage Woman of the Year hopes her recognition inspires others

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Posted at 4:49 AM, Oct 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-06 07:45:10-04

VALRICO, Fla. — Hispanic Heritage Month will come to an end Saturday, Oct. 16, when Tampa Hispanic Heritage honors their man and woman of the year.

On the female side, Monica Rodriguez has been impacting the Tampa community since moving here in 1999.

“We started doing baby showers for pregnant moms that were under Medicaid, just bringing them resources,” said Rodriguez.

Monica went on to become Chair of the Latino Coalition of Tampa Bay and President for the Sheriff’s Hispanic Advisory Council.

“Make sure they are comfortable dealing with the police and that they can report those issues they have without being afraid of retaliation or anything else to that effect,” said Rodriguez.

She said the best part is connecting with seniors, families and children who share the same roots. She feels a responsibility to look out for them.

“There’s a lot of families out there that don’t have the resources but do have the drive to succeed,” said Rodriguez.

She said none of her volunteer work was ever done for recognition, which made it quite a surprise when Tampa Hispanic Heritage named her the 2021 Hispanic Woman of the Year.

“My reaction was, ‘you have the wrong number,’" laughed Rodriguez.

Rodriguez hopes to serve as an inspiration to others, when you help out one person or family, the entire community benefits.

“What you get you have to give so there is always an opportunity to put some good back into this world,” said Rodriguez.