Words at UPPYS Awards, Person of the Year Ceremony

By Manolo Betancur.

Let me share with you some words that I said at the ceremony, a message of Love to #Ukraine and the people of #Charlotte that supports us all the time in Manolo´s Bakery.

Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov 23 – 2022:

I am a baker, I bake happiness. 
My bread feeds souls. 
Bite by bite, 
My cakes change the world.

Better baker than a poet. But I am sure you feel me… (jeje)

Today, as I always try to do,  I want to speak from my heart.

I want to dedicate this Award (UPstanding Person of the Year) to my dear American friend Thomas. When the war started, he sent his daughters to the USA and he stayed there with his wife in Ukraine, them and several of his friends risked their lives to evacuate people from Bucha to the Poland border.

He risked his life to take me inside Ukraine, he risked his life in order for me to deliver Charlotte’s donations in Bucha, and because of him, I am here tonight telling you what I saw.

I just can’t believe I’m here tonight. And it is even harder to know that I am receiving an award in a place where everyone is a hero. 

Yes…To me any small business owner is a hero. 
-Each of you faces many challenges and overcomes them. That’s what heroes do. It is an honor to be here with all of you.

Two weeks ago I was in Ukraine, cold weather was already there- I was telling my new friends- Hey I am from Colombia, South America, I am not used to cold weather, they laughed at me and they said:  “This is just fall for us”. 

The truth is, it was not the weather which was affecting me.

Walking down the same streets where women were raped, people got killed, and children lost their parents gave me different type of chill. You can’t imagine how cold that feeling is. 

But I am not here to tell you something that you can see any time on the news.  

I am here to tell you that Ukraine is not giving up! They are the bravest people in the world.

If a building goes down, the next day they are building a new one-. 
If a tree goes down, the next day they are planting  a new one. 
And if a life is gone, the next day a baby is born. Their resilience is an example for the world and it will be written in history books.

We all must support Ukraine- because they are fighting for us…

I am also here to invite you dear friends to be kind and generous to our communities and to the planet. If a Baker from central avenue can be useful for our community, imagine what you can do. Imagine what WE can do!
Thank you Uppys for creating this award.