Jennie Aquino (left), a resident at Eden Valley Care Center in Soledad, cuts a cake donated by La Plaza Bakery with daughter Felisa Hoogendyk to celebrate her 105th birthday on Saturday. (Contributed)

SOLEDAD — Soledad Community Health Care District (SCHCD) celebrated a momentous milestone in the life of one of its cherished residents, Jennie Aquino, who turned 105 years old on Saturday.

Jennie Aquino at 20 years old. (Contributed)

Aquino, a lifelong resident of Soledad, has been an integral part of the community since her early years. Originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, she arrived in Soledad with her family as a baby.

Over the decades, Aquino has contributed significantly to the fabric of the community, working in the Salinas Valley agricultural fields, teaching catechism at Our Lady of Solitude Church, and becoming a beloved figure among SCHCD’s residents.

Currently residing at the Eden Valley Care Center in Soledad, Aquino has been a “pillar of strength and inspiration,” according to SCHCD. The District celebrated her remarkable journey on Jan. 26, just before her actual birthday on Jan. 27, at the Eden Valley Skilled Nursing Facility.

“Soledad Community Health Care District is honored to celebrate the incredible life of Ms. Jennie Aquino on her 105th birthday,” said SCHCD CEO Ida Lopez Chan. “Her enduring dedication to our community exemplifies the spirit of resilience and connection we cherish. Through this celebration, we emphasize our commitment to community engagement and the well-being of our residents. Ms. Aquino’s story is a testament to the rich tapestry of Soledad, and we are privileged to share in this milestone with her and our community.”

Aquino’s commitment to the community reaches beyond personal milestones.

A proud mother of six children — David, Peter, Joey, Felisa, Sol and Sharon — her family legacy is interwoven with Soledad’s rich history. Her children, familiar with uncles Frank Ledesma and Joe Ledesma and cousin Fred Ledesma, all former mayors, continue the family’s civic contributions.

“Until this day, I don’t recall my aunt, Jennie, not taking care of our family; she is the matriarch of our family,” said former Soledad mayor Fred Ledesma. “There are people who are nice and not so nice, but my aunt Jennie is always kind and positive. She knows how to treat people.”

Jennie Aquino’s family attends her birthday party at the Eden Valley Skilled Nursing Facility on Jan. 26. (Contributed)

Last Friday’s celebration brought together community members, staff and friends to celebrate Aquino’s milestone. The event was filled with heartfelt speeches, shared memories and an atmosphere of unity that showcased the strong bonds between residents, staff and the greater Soledad community.

Aquino’s family, including her children Sol Aquino and Felisa Hoogendyk, joined her for this momentous occasion, adding an extra layer of warmth to the festivities.

Adding to the significance of the celebration, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren’s staffer, Angela Bocanegra, attended and honored Aquino with a special resolution. The resolution detailed Aquino’s “outstanding community service” throughout her life and acknowledged her incredible 105th birthday milestone.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren’s staffer Angela Bocanegra presents Jennie Aquino with a congressional resolution. (Contributed)
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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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