Local grocer Aurelio Villa, left, was among those who received the 2021 AZ19 Most Influential Award. He is joined by family friends and Rotarians during a recent recognition by the club who nominated him for the award.

Aurelio Villa, owner of Villa’s Market and Wholesale, was honored at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Nogales, having been selected for the 2021 AZ19 Most Influential People Award by the Nogales International and Green Valley News/Sahuarita Sun.

Villa was nominated for the recognition by the Rotary Club. Rotarian Bobby Astengo said he is “our best example of who this prestigious award is meant to honor and what the award itself represents.”

One of the Rotary slogans is “Service above self.” Astengo said that Villa and his staff demonstrated this by partnering with the club, “providing and delivering meals and joy to the less fortunate in our community, most notably during the holidays at Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Each year, the Villas not only donate turkeys for the food boxes delivered by Rotarians, but also cook them.

“When we, this club, partners our hearts and minds with Aurelio, we become ‘people of action’, a slogan and duty dear to Rotary International,” Astengo said.

Villa was joined by family members at the recognition. His son Oscar, who along with his brother Sergio works side-by-side with their dad, shared some history.

Founded by his father Mario Villa in 1968, Villa’s Market closed in 1988. “My father Aurelio ventured off and created a grocery wholesale business in Mexico and built it from the ground up. Nothing was ever handed to him. He has worked for everything he has achieved,” Oscar Villa said.

Turning to his father, he said: “Dad, not only do we admire your work ethic but we are proud that you are our father.”

He said his father is “the people’s champ. His wit, amazing charisma and willingness to help others are what make him such a successful businessman, father, husband and friend.”

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