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September 19, Third Wednesday in September is Dr. Hector P. Garcia Day in Texas

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas –September 19 was the third Wednesday in September the day set aside by the Texas state legislature to commemorate Dr. Hector P. Garcia. Dr. Garcia, the founder of the American GI Forum (AGIF) spent his life fighting for the rights of Hispanic Veterans and their families in this country. For this lifetime of dedication Dr. Garcia was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our country's highest civilian honor from President Ronald Regan. Young Dr. Garcia was an army veteran who served during WWII as a soldier and later as a medical doctor. Garcia earned a Bronze Star and six battle stars for his military service.

In 2009, the Texas State Legislature designated the third Wednesday in September as Dr. Hector P. Garcia Day through Senate Bill 495. The bill authorized the observance of the day by schools and state agencies to honor Dr. Garcia. Dr. Garcia had been honored before in many ways. He has had U.S. Post Offices, Public Schools, Hospital wings and a National Guard Armory named in his honor.  In Corpus Christi Texas, a portion of State Highway 286 was named Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Highway.

After returning from WWII, Dr. Garcia, a physician founded the American GI Forum to help Mexican-American Veterans fight for their rights that were being denied by the VA, including pensions, their educational, medical and housing benefits and most importantly job opportunities.

Dr. Garcia together with other Mexican-American AGIF Veterans fought for voting rights, against discrimination in public schools, housing, jobs and fought for the underserved, for the right of all citizens to be given the same opportunities and rights. They fought the Courts for the right of fair trials by juries of their peers. Garcia and his teams fought hard, taking a case all the way to the supreme court fighting and winning equal justice system reforms.

Dr. Garcia, a true American, served in many capacities including ambassador to the United Nations, as a member of the Commission on Civil Rights, as advisor to Presidents, Governors, Senators and Congressmen, always advocating for justice and equality of all citizen members of our communities.

Let us all, members of the American GI Forum, remember Dr. Hector P. Garcia, as an extraordinary leader, founder of our great organization, a dedicated public servant and an advocate of equal treatment for all. Dr. Garcia fought for the rights of Veterans and Latinos. Within the American GI Forum, he assisted in staring programs such as the Veterans Outreach Program, SER, the Hispanic Education Foundation, and the National Archives to help break down the barriers in education, health care, housing, to have a fair and open job market. The American GI Forum honors him today by continuing to fight to protect our liberties and ensure that all Americans are treated equally with dignity and respect."


Hurricane Harvey Hits Southeast Texas, AGIF Members Safe
From the Texas State Office

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Hurricane Harvey hit southeast Texas as a category 4 storm on Friday after Texans in the target areas were encouraged to evacuate the area. President Trump and Governor Abbott declared the hurricane a major disaster before it hit, ensuring that resources would be ready to go after the during and after the storm passed.

The American GI Forum State Office has been in touch and has gathered information from some members in the Coastal Area before, during and after the hurricane.  Before the storm, we contacted members in the area to offer assistance. They responded that they were okay and some gave us their plans to ride out the storm. We had several members from throughout the AGIF worried about our safety and we thank them for their concerns and appreciate their thoughts and prayers.

Here is some information that we were able to gather from some members. From the Coastal Bend Women, Tina Olivares informed us that she and some members would ride the storm out in Corpus while others left the area. Since the storm hit the coast We have spoken with Tina and she informed us that she and others did not suffer major damage. Maria Ramirez and husband are in the Dallas area for the duration of the storm. The Robstown Women's Chair Leslie E. Cristan and the Beatrice Perez women are all safe. From the Greater Houston Women, Jeannie Aleman and John went to Waco. Some left the area to higher ground and those who stayed are safe.

State Commander John Martinez braved the storm in Houston and is still dry. He reported that members of his chapter that he’s contacted are all okay. From the Corpus Christi area, the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Founding Chapter’s Amador Garcia decided to stay and ride out the storm. We have not heard from him directly but were told that he too made it with only minor damage. National Commander Angel Zuniga, also in Corpus Christi survived the storm also with minor damage has not heard from members of his chapter. We were concerned with The Howdy Leal Chapter and especially since Howdy decided to weather the storm a few miles north in Victoria. He, since was contacted by Israel Tames from San Antonio and found that he had some losses in Port Lavaca but is now safe, doing well in Victoria. The storm hit very hard in the Port Lavaca and Victoria Area. Richard Dominguez and Anita Dominguez from Rockport where the storm hit first evacuated to safety in Del Rio. Richard’s son stayed in Rockport and is okay. There is also a report that that the AGIF Clubhouse is still standing. Nearby areas like San Antonio, Seguin, San Marcos and Austin got a tremendous amount of rain, but very little damage.

We will keep the State Commander and members informed of any updates via this site when we get them. We want everyone to observe all precautions and abide by requests made by the local authorities.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued statements asking that all persons that left the area stay away from their homes until it is completely safe. He continued that until all power and services are restored it is better to stay away. He expressed his gratitude to the Federal Government and to FEMA for their quick response. He thanked the administration for their help in the wake of Hurricane Harvey's devastation and now with the flooding in the Houston area. Having FEMA there before the storm really helped with emergency services. Because of the early Disaster declaration there is now a lot of support from federal government agencies and made us better prepared.

Governor Abbott also has said that presently they are conducting search and rescue operations and providing emergency services. In Rockport, they have first responders plus the Texas National Guard going door to door looking for people needing assistance and for survivors Abbott stated that the mandatory evacuations saved a lot of lives in Rockport where the eye of the Hurricane made land.

The Storm is not over yet. We still expect torrential rains to last for the next several days and the cleanup will take weeks and even months. Texas can expect heavy flooding in the areas where the rain continues. We continue to pray and ask for your prayers for those still in the midst of the storm.

The AGIF State Office will keep all its members and families informed through its web site and through its State Facebook page. We thank everyone for their concerns. For more assistance and
information contact the state office at (512) 992-7066.

Former National Chairwoman Patsy M. Vazquez-Contes Honored
47th Annual NAACP – H. Boyd Hall Branch Martin Luther King Jr., Freedom Fund Banquet in Corpus Christi, Texas

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: CORPUS CHRISTI Texas – Former National Chairwoman Patsy M. Vazquez-Contes Was invited to attend the 47th Annual NAACP – H. Boyd Hall Branch Martin Luther King Jr., Freedom Fund Banquet on January 14, 2015 at the American Bank Center as a recipient of the NAACP Presidential Award.

"It was an honor to be on the stage with the following recipients whom were also recognize during the banquet for their outstanding leadership and work that helps perpetuate the amazing spirit of Dr. King," said Ms. Contes. (see Photos below)

President Terry Mills, welcome everyone to the annual event. Mrs. Rosie Gonzalez Collin Director of Community Relations, Port of Corpus Christi Authority was the Mistress of Ceremonies and Mayor Ivy Taylor of San Antonio was the Keynote Speaker.

Social Justice Awards

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation, Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Federal Bureau of investigation, Houston, Texas
  • United States Attorney office for the Southern District of Texas – Department of Justice

Civil Rights Awards 

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Civil Rights, Equality and Justice for All
  • Mr. Daniel Covich, Attorney at Law

Presidential Awards

  • Mr. James Bright
  • Mrs. Gabi S. Canales
  • Mr. Lorenzo Cardona
  • Mr. Richard F. Cortez
  • Mr. Marlon Griffin
  • Mr. Joe A. Martinez
  • Superintendent Daniel Robinson
  • Mrs. Marvinette Smith
  • Mrs. Patsy M. Vazquez-Contes

NAACP Awards Banquet

Pinning Ceremony Honors Corpus Christi Area Vietnam Veterans

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The American GI Forum of the U.S. hosted a ceremony on Saturday morning October 15, 2016, to commemorate Vietnam War veterans. National Commander Angel Zuniga assisted by Past National Commander Luis Vazquez Contes performed the pinning ceremony to Welcome Home and Honor Vietnam Era Veterans on the 50th anniversary of that war.

The American GI Forum has performed several Pinning ceremonies throughout the State and the Nation as part of the national observation of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Zuniga pinned several Forum members at a similar ceremony at the State Conference in San Marcos last June. The ceremony was also repeated at the State Board Meeting in Del Rio, Texas on Saturday October 22, and the McAllen Chapter participated in one in San Benito on October 24, 2016.

Veterans who served active duty in the Armed Forces from Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, are eligible to receive a pin. National Commander Angel Zuniga has been performing this ceremony as have other Commanders of other Veterans Organizations.

This event took place at the Tejano Civil Rights Museum in Corpus Christi, Texas. The guest speaker for the event was LULAC Council No. 1 President Nick Adame. American GI Forum National Commander Angel Zuniga once again performed the pinning ceremony. Below are the Honorees:

  • Donald Anderson
  • Armando G. Caceres
  • Rodolfo A. Caceres
  • Jorge L. Casanova
  • Emilio G. Casarez
  • Ermilo G. Casarez
  • Eloy R. Ceballos
  • Ausgustin Collin
  • Geard V. D'Alessio
  • Amador Y. Duran
  • Jack Esparza
  • Leo Estrada
  • Neal Estrada
  • Eddie G. Franco
  • Jerry G. Franco
  • Jose G. Franco
  • Richard G. Franco
  • Salvador G. Franco
  • Fernando V. Garcia
  • Jesse V. Garcia
  • Herbie Garza
  • Robert Gilbert Garcia
  • Pablo Garza Jr.
  • Ricardo Hankenson
  • Alfredo Jimenez
  • Fred Jimenez
  • James W. Kurth
  • Danny Martinez
  • Johnny Martinez
  • Frank Montoya
  • Ismael P. Mora
  • Jose Lino Presas

Vietnam Era Veterans are Honored in Corpus Christi