It was a hot summer day, but that didn’t deter ordinary citizens from joining several civic organizations and leaders in honoring a man who has made contributions to many community sectors throughout Bridgeport for the last 41 years.
People from all walks of life were present July 17 at the Samaritanos Social Club to recognize Dimas Marquez Perez for his unconditional service to the various communities.
Perez was born in Talante, Maunabo, Puerto Rico, one of eight children. In 1963 he moved to Warwick, N.Y., where he played softball. In 1970, he moved to Bridgeport and since then — although he helped wherever he was needed — he has mostly been involved in sports, culture and children’s activities, working tirelessly to promote and support them.
He has served as president and vice president of the Borinquen Softball League, as president of the Old Timers Softball Team and was a co-founder of the Connecticut Dominos Dream Team.
He has played in the Tetelos Vargas Baseball League and softball in the Victor Pellot and Felix Millan leagues. Currently, Dimas is a member of the board of directors of Amigos de Clemente, the Samaritanos Social Club, Inc., the Latin American Pool League and is a co-founder and member of the Three Kings Day Toy Drive. And he still finds time to play dominos and pool.
Recently Dimas became the lead singer for Dimas and His Friends (Dimas y sus Amigos) and has contributed to the exposure and promotion of Puerto Rican musical culture.
Longtime Bridgeport activist Wilfredo “Willie” Matos opened the ceremony, highlighting Dimas’s contributions. In his remarks, Matos said, “Dimas always put others before himself. That’s why we see such a big crowd this afternoon. People could not fit inside the club, so most of them saw the ceremony from the street.”
“I have to admit it, you fooled me,” Dimas said when he was called to the podium for the honors. “I thought the reason my family came to Bridgeport was because of the Puerto Rican Day Parade,” he said, referring to the many family members who came from various states and Puerto Rico to be part of the ceremony.
One by one, people representing organizations associated with Dimas’s work were called to the podium, where they bestowed his with recognition awards. Some of the organizations that honored Dimas include Los Amigos de Clemente, Bridgeport Old Timers, Dominican-American Coalition of Connecticut, Latin American Pool League and the Connecticut Dominos Dream Team.
Representatives from nine organizations addressed the crowd, and each speaker shared remarks emphasizing Dimas’s humanity and community service.
Public and elected officials presenting proclamations to Dimas included Mayor Bill Finch, City Council members Manolin Ayala and Lydia Martinez and state Rep. Andres Ayala Jr. Former state Rep. Edna Garcia read a poem. When called to the podium, she said, “Dimas is a good man, a community man, so I wrote a poem inspired by him.”
“You don’t normally see this mix of people in a celebration,” said Ana Rodriguez. “Here you see all kinds of people because Dimas knows everybody — and they know the kind of person he is.”
Thomas Rivera of Caroline Street said, “This is the real thing. Sometimes you see people receiving an award because of politics, but by looking around, you see this is no joke. He is truly a community man.”
Among the community leaders present at the ceremony were Willie Santiago, Rhapy Garcia, Angel Morales, Tito Aponte, Carmen Nieves, Luis Miranda, and Judges Dale Radcliffe and Carmen Lopez.
After the ceremony, people mingled, ate delicious food and listened to the music of Dimas y sus Amigos.