LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – On Friday, the Super Bowl Host Committee held a pep rally for thousands of volunteers and four very special guests, who got their own surprise invites to the big game.

“Will the owners of Mario’s Westside Market come down to the floor please?” said the announcer at the event. “These individuals’ dedication to community is unwavering, and it has not gone unnoticed.”

It was a Super Bowl surprise for the owners of Mario’s Westside Market – a pilar of the Historic Westside community.

“I’m excited to announce that on behalf of the NFL, the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee, we’re sending you to the Super Bowl,” said Michael Crome, Las Vegas Raiders SVP and Chief Financial Officer.

“They talked about how many years we’ve been here and all we do for the community, and then next thing I know he says, ‘We’re sending you to the Super Bowl!’ recalled Mario Berlanga, owner of Mario’s Westside Market. “I never in my mind thought that that was what was happening.”

For 26 years, Mario’s Westside Market has been a staple of the Historic Westside – a food desert lacking healthy grocery options for residents.

The market has been working to defeat that deficiency, and the Super Bowl Host Committee wanted to award them for that commitment to the community.

“All the work we do to support different programs within our community. We do a little league, we have back to school, we have Christmas in the 106,” said Berlanga.

Mario’s Westside Market recently doubled in size, opening at a new location in the same lot in October, still with the same mission in mind.

“I want to thank my customers. I want to thank my community,” said Berlanga. “It feels good that what you do, there’s people out there watching and taking notes.”


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