Years ago, Gabriel Perez was a struggling immigrant with a pledge to himself to learn English. Today, he's a successful Orem real estate agent, board president of the Utah County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a mentor to budding entrepreneurs.

On Saturday, Perez was among Utah Hispanics honored at the Hispanic Heritage Gala Awards at Distinctive Catering.

The awards honor those who are successful and also serve as role models for their communities, said Ana Maria Fereday, owner of the Hispanic Yellow Pages, which has presented the annual awards since 2004.

"This country offers ample opportunity to people who set their goals to succeed," Fereday said. "Overall, they can be professional as business professionals and also give back to the community."

Perez received the Orgullo (Pride) Latino award. Other recipients are Dolores Medina, owner of El Farol Restaurant, Hispanic Business of the Year; Carols Machado of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Hispanic Professional of the Year; Ed Distell of Bustos Media, Hispanic Communication; Ruby Chacon, Hispanic Artist; Alejandro Lopez, Tooele High School teacher, ESL Teacher.