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On the Town: 'Women of Courage' are honored at luncheon

May 15, 2012|By Ruth Sowby
  • Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero lauds two Jewels of Glendale and their mother, from left, Betty Porto, mother Rosa Porto and Margarita Navarro.
Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero lauds two Jewels of Glendale…

“The Glendale Commission on the Status of Women is the most active commission in the city.” That's according to Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero. Led by Commission Chairman Paula Devine, the 8th Annual Jewels of Glendale Awards Luncheon on Thursday (May 10) was the best ever. And that's according to yours truly.

The Oakmont Country Club was a jewel of a setting. Some 275 supporters were there to honor five Women of Courage: Lori Hartwell, Christine Hovnanian, Betty Porto and her sister Margarita Navarro, and Suzonne Slaughter. Former Glendale Mayor Eileen Givens was also honored with the Special Chair's Recognition, and Aimee Yeghiayan was the Gem Scholarship Awardee.

This column doesn't have the space to laud each of these women's impressive accomplishments and their heartbreaks along the way. But two sisters and their mother (who received a standing ovation) were standouts in this reporter's opinion. Here is a little of their history:


Porto, Navarro and brother Raul Jr. escaped Cuba in 1971 with their parents, Rosa Porto and Raul Porto. Family members pitched in to sell cakes baked in their Southern California home kitchen. Eventually, they owned three Porto's bakeries (including the Glendale and Burbank locations). Porto's is one of the most lucrative bakery and sandwich enterprises in the U.S.

The whole family worked in their Glendale shop, originally with room to sit 10. Betty was in charge of sales. She is now vice president of community relations. Margarita did the cake decoration. She is now vice president of operations. Today, Betty and Margarita run the business with Raul Jr. as CEO.

Other members of the Commission are Vice Chair Denise Miller, Commissioners Lynda Burns, Chris Garsevanian, Vatche Tashjian, Students Ex Officio Jaclyn Alcazar and Natalie Sarukhanian. Congratulations to all.

The city's finest may be great cops, and some of them may have lacked golfing finesse on the links at the La Cañada Flintridge County Club. But all of them are more than generous. On May 7, 144 members of the Glendale Police Officers' Assn., their friends and supporters played in the 21st Annual Cops For Kids Charity Golf Tournament.

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