John Orozco’s Bronx Background and Diaz Sr.’s Olympic Connections

john orozco John Orozcos Bronx Background and Diaz Sr.s Olympic Connections

(Photo: Getty)

Bronx native John Orozco is turning out to be one of the American stars of this year’s Olympics and State Senator Rubén Díaz, Sr. wants everyone to know that it took a lot of hard work to help the young athlete get the gymnastics classes he needed while growing up.

“You should know that many years ago when I was first elected to the New York City Council, John Orozco´s mother, Damaris, came to my office to ask my son, Ruben Diaz Jr., and myself for any assistance that we could offer,” Mr. Díaz wrote in a statement today. “She was determined to find a way for her Bronx family to afford to send John to a school where he could properly train in gymnastics.”

Mr. Díaz went on to note the work that he and his helped to raise money for Ms. Orozco and her son and heralded his Olympics accomplishments. However, as Mr. Díaz wrote this all in one of his infamously outspoken “What You Should Know” statements, he naturally threw some rhetorical elbows as well. Chief among them was Mayor Michael Bloomberg declining to contribute towards Mr. Orozco’s gymnastics training.

“Ladies and gentlemen, while I’m sorry that Mayor Bloomberg never came through with help for John Orozco, maybe it’s not too late,” he said. “Maybe, just maybe, there is something Mayor Bloomberg can do to show his concern for John Orozco and his mother, and find ways to honor more families and individuals who also strive to achieve their dreams.”

Read the full missive below:

Celebrating John Orozco – And His Mother

You should know that many years ago when I was first elected to the New York City Council, John Orozco´s mother, Damaris, came to my office to ask my son, Ruben Diaz Jr., and myself for any assistance that we could offer.  She was determined to find a way for her Bronx family to afford to send John to a school where he could properly train in gymnastics.

We told her that we would do our best to help her and her family. As a City Councilmember and later as a New York State Senator, together with my son, who was a New York State Assemblyman we helped her family raise some money to send her son to train as a gymnast.

You should also know that as part of my outreach for help, I wrote to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ask for any assistance he could offer.  Someone from Mayor Bloomberg’s office did call me to ask what the letter was all about.  I explained that there was a poor family in my district who was reaching out for help for one of the children so that the child could have an opportunity that would never be possible without the generosity of others.  The Mayor’s aide explained that the Mayor doesn’t make personal donations and only gives to organizations or not-for-profit groups, but that he would see what he could do.

That was the last I heard about that.

Raising money was not easy, but John’s mother never gave up.  Damaris Orozco is an incredibly determined and dedicated mother.  She made sure that her son would be able to achieve his goals.  When the residents of Harding Park held their Family Day, Damaris Orozco sold rice and beans to help raise money for John to attend gymnastics classes.  She drove him near and far so that he could train and so that his dream to compete in the Olympics could come true.

Now the world celebrates the achievements of Team USA Men’s Gymnastic Star John Orozco as he competes in the 2012 Olympics in London.  John’s mother must be very proud.  He certainly makes the Bronx proud, the United States proud – and he most definitely has made me proud!

Ladies and gentlemen, while I’m sorry that Mayor Bloomberg never came through with help for John Orozco, maybe it’s not too late. Maybe, just maybe, there is something Mayor Bloomberg can do to show his concern for John Orozco and his mother, and find ways to honor more families and individuals who also strive to achieve their dreams.

I am Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.