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Former City Council Member Demetrio “Junior” Ortega is Honored with Ceremonial Street Sub-Naming in Hilltop Neighborhood

Post Date:10/07/2019 1:00 PM

Mayor Purzycki signs Executive Order naming the 1000 block of West 5th Street as “Demetrio ‘Junior’ Ortega Way” to honor the longtime community activistortega 1

Demetrio “Junior” Ortega speaks at the street renaming ceremony last week.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki hosted a community event on Friday where he was joined by family, friends and community members as a City block was re-named in honor of former City Council member Demetrio “Junior” Ortega.  Ortega lives on the block with his family. This area has served as Junior Ortega’s base for his community involvement and numerous activities for many years. Based on a Resolution approved by Wilmington City Council that was sponsored by 5th District Council Member Vash Turner, Mayor Purzycki signed an Executive Order Friday designating the 1000 block of West 5th Street in the City’s Hilltop neighborhood as “Demetrio ‘Junior’ Ortega Way.”

Among those on hand for the street sub-naming ceremony were President of Wilmington City Council Hanifa Shabazz, 5th District Council Member Turner, Council Members Charles “Bud” Freel and Rysheema Dixon, Latin American Community Center President and CEO Maria Matos, Fire Marshal Gabriel Pabon, Police Chief Robert J. Tracy, District Police Captain Wilfredo Campos, Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Kelley Sr., and former City Council President Theodore Blunt.

Restating his words as expressed in the Executive Order, Mayor Purzycki said “we honor Demetrio ‘Junior’ Ortega’s dedication of his life to public service, advocacy, and education of the residents of the City of Wilmington, especially his work on behalf of the members of the Hispanic population of Wilmington.”
 
Since the 1970s, Mr. Ortega has tirelessly advocated on behalf of the Hispanic population of Wilmington, including serving as executive director of the Latin American Community Center and organizing the very first Hispanic week celebration in 1977. Mr. Ortega has spent the past 40 years focused on education and outreach to the people of Wilmington, working with the Delaware Skills Center, Westside Health Services, and other community organizations.  A former three-term member of Wilmington City Council, he served the residents of the 5th Councilmanic District from 1993 until 2005.  
 
In addition to his work in the community, Mr. Ortega has been an active member of the St. Paul’s Parish, serving in various representative capacities since 1976.  He has been recognized on numerous occasions for his service to the community, including numerous Outstanding Contribution to the Community awards, and the cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, for distinguished service to the church, awarded by Pope Benedict XVI. 
 
Mr. Ortega’s advocacy stretches beyond the City of Wilmington.  In September 2017 Mr. Ortega found himself in the direct path of Hurricane Maria as the storm bore down on the island of Puerto Rico.  After witnessing the storm’s destruction firsthand, Mr. Ortega established the Naranjito Relief Fund Foundation, and has aided more than 200 families of the town of Naranjito in their recovery efforts.

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Mayor Purzycki addresses the crowd at the street renaming honoring Demetrio “Junior” Ortega.

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Mayor Purzycki unveils the Demetrio Junior Ortega Way street sign at 5th and Van Buren Streets.

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Mayor Purzycki unveils the Demetrio Junior Ortega Way street sign at 5th and Van Buren Streets.

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