Regence selects Seattle attorney for 2008 Latino Hero Award

Henry Cruz advocates for immigrant rights, provides pro-bono law services and mentors young orphan

SEATTLE — Regence BlueShield today announced it awarded Seattle immigration attorney Henry Cruz the 2008 Latino Hero Award. The award represents Regence’s ongoing commitment to the Latino community, honoring individuals of Latino descent who have given back to the community and have impressive professional or educational accomplishments.

"At just 31 years old, Henry Cruz has emerged as a powerful voice and advocate for Latinos," said Francisco Garbayo, Regence emerging markets manager. “His commitment to the empowerment and advancement of the Latino community truly embodies the spirit of Regence’s Latino Hero Award."

As a lawyer at Rios Canter, P.S., an immigration law firm in Seattle, Cruz works to promote immigrant rights and prevent discrimination against undocumented immigrants. Outside of the office, he is an active participant in the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington and is the commissioner of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs. He also serves as a pro-bono immigration lawyer.

In addition, Cruz, the son of a Peruvian immigrant, recently became a mentor to a 6-year-old orphan named Oscar. Oscar immigrated to the United States from Mexico less than a year ago, and through Cruz’s mentoring he has learned English, excels in school and is active in sports.

“The Regence Latino Hero Award was created to honor Latinos making significant contributions to the community, and it is part of Regence’s larger Latino outreach program focusing on health education,” continued Garbayo. “At Regence we understand and honor the changing face of our communities.”

As the recipient of the Hero Award, Henry Cruz will receive $2,000, which he will donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound. He will also be featured in a Regence advertising campaign. For more information about Regence in Spanish, visit http://www.regence.com/spanish.

About Regence BlueShield:
Regence BlueShield is a leading health plan in Washington with more than one million members, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain Region, serving nearly three million members as Regence BlueShield (select counties in Washington), Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield of Idaho. Each plan is a not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com.