AGIF State Chairwoman Sylvia Garza is Honored by Organization

AGIF State Chairwoman Sylvia Garza is Honored by Organization

Sylvia Garza of San Marcos, holds the award recently presented to her at a 75th Anniversary Luncheon sponsored by the American GI Forum, in honor of her decades of service to the American GI Forum, including serving as Texas State Chairwoman. The AGIF is a congressionally chartered Hispanic veterans and civil rights organization founded in 1948 in Texas. Its motto is “Education is Our Freedom and Freedom should be Everybody’s Business,” and it operates chapters throughout the U.S., with a focus on veterans’ issues, education, and civil rights. A mural honoring some of San Marcos’ veterans and heroes decorates the side of the AGIF building located in the area off South Mitchell Street in San Marcos.

Daily Record photo by Barbara Audet

In her quaint home on south Mitchell Street, one woman lives a life that continues to excerpt a dynamic force for good in all matters that seek to benefit veterans in this community and the state.

In her home, resplendent with water fountains and a healthy magnolia tree she and her husband, Freddie, planted years ago, Sylvia Garza, in her 80s, is not a bragging woman, and yet, she could be. Her husband is known to many in the community as the proprietor of Freddie’s Auto Repair. Both were born and raised in this community and share a love for the people and the life they have built here.

Recently, she was honored by her organization, the American GI Forum, during its 75th Anniversary Luncheon, held in Corpus Christi, with its Years of Service Award The award was presented to her in recognition of her recent contributions as state chairwoman, but also for her lifelong commitment to the organization and its work with veterans and students.

She said the AGIF was established in March 1948, in Cor pus Christi, by Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a man who sought to address issues affecting the large population of Mexican American veterans, many of whom had returned from serving in World War II and found segregation in their home state, Texas. Often denied medical services and even burials with military honors, the first veteran championed by the new AGIF was Felix Longoria, a Mexican-American U.S. Army private who was killed in the Philippines in World War II.

Three years after the war ended, his family had his remains brought home to Texas, and they were denied funeral services by a white-owned funeral home, Garza explained. Garcia requested the intercession of then-U.S. Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, who arranged for Longoria to be buried with full military honors at the nation’s most cherished military cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. This action brought Garza’s organization into prominence across the country, and chapters would be started as a result. Longoria’s services at Arlington brought the AGIF to national attention, and chapters were opened throughout the country. Soon, a women’s and youth auxiliary were formed, and Garza said she saw this as a place where she could make a difference. Though she did not serve in the military, as a mother and now grandmother, she said her commitment to advancing civil rights was strong. ‘I’m very patriotic,” Garza said.


Celebrate with Us: Honoring Heroes and Community Leaders at the 8th National Annual Hispanic Heritage Bus Wrap Celebration!

Celebrate with Us: Honoring Heroes and Community Leaders at the 8th National Annual Hispanic Heritage Bus Wrap Celebration!

We are thrilled to invite you to a truly special event that embodies the essence of unity, gratitude, and community spirit. The 8th National Annual Hispanic Heritage Bus Wrap Celebration, hosted by the American GI Forum Beatrice T. Perez Robstown Women’s Chapter, will take place on Thursday, September 28, 2023, at the stunning Alexia’s Event Center & Bridal Boutique located at 2429 Johanna St., Corpus Christi, Texas 78415.


Event Details:
– Date: Thursday, September 28, 2023
– Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
– Location: Alexia’s Event Center & Bridal Boutique,
2429 Johanna St., Corpus Christi, Texas 78415

This year, the celebration takes on an even more profound significance as we come together to honor the unwavering dedication of our gold and blue star mothers, veterans, police officers, and firefighters who have valiantly served our country. Alongside this tribute, we will also recognize the remarkable contributions of our local community and corporate leaders who have played an integral role in shaping the foundation of the outstanding heritage.

Your presence at this event will be an invaluable source of inspiration and encouragement to all attendees. As we honor the heroes among us and highlight the exceptional endeavors of community and corporate leaders, we stand as a testament to the strength that emerges from a united community.

The celebration promises to be a captivating experience, complete with poignant speeches, heartwarming stories, and a genuine spirit of camaraderie. Together, we will create lasting memories and forge deeper connections that extend far beyond this event.

Please save the date, September 28th, between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM, and join us in expressing our heartfelt gratitude and admiration for those who have served our nation with pride and dedication. We would be honored by your presence.

For further details and inquiries, please feel free to reach out to us at Patsy M. Vazquez-Contes at 361-232-8296 | [email protected]

Tribute to Maria ‘Mary’ Ramirez August 18, 1942 – April 28, 2023

Tribute to Maria ‘Mary’ Ramirez August 18, 1942 – April 28, 2023

Maria ‘Mary’ Ramirez passed away in Corpus Christi, Texas on April 28, 2023, at the age of 80. She was born the third of six children to Josefina and Ruben Rosales on August 18, 1942, in Raymondville, Texas.

A beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend to many has been called to her heavenly home. She exemplified the definition of beauty, elegance, and love. This beautiful legacy lives on in our hearts forever.

Maria, was a long-time, very active member of the American GI Forum and served the organization in many capacities beginning as a Junior GI Forum member, selected as Miss Texas GI Forum, Mary never stopped. We will always be grateful for her dedication and accomplishments:

Mary began as a member of the Jr. GI Forum Group in Corpus Christi, Texas; Represented the AGIF of Texas in the Queen Competition at the American GI Forum of the United States in Omaha, Nebraska; was a Board Member for the Nueces County Community Action Board; Board Member of the of the American GI Forum National Archives; Founder of the Coastal Bend Women’s Chapter in Corpus; was State Chairwoman of the American GI Forum of Texas; National Chairwoman of the America GI Forum of the U.S.; Served on the SER Board of Directors under the umbrella of National SER; Member of the Hispanic Education Foundation of the American GI Forum of the U.S.

Our condolences, prayers, and thoughts to her husband of 63 years, Tom, her daughters Pearl Trevino and husband Rick Trevino, Dina Ramirez, Heather, and husband Zubby O’Gene, and Laura Ramirez, all her Grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and to her many friends. We and all who knew her shall miss her. May she rest in Eternal Peace in the presence of our Heavenly Father.

Rest in Peace, Guillerma Ramirez Morales February 8, 1944 – October 9, 2022

The American GI Forum lost a member and a dear friend, Guillerma (Ramirez) Morales who passed away on October 9, 2022. Guillerma was born February 8, 1944, in Fort Worth, TX. Guillerma was a past American GI Forum of Texas State Chairwoman and National Officer. She and her husband Tony dedicated a great part of her adult life helping and addressing the needs of others.

She is survived by her husband, Antonio Gil Morales, AGIF past National Commander; her son, Antonio F. Morales, and his wife, Ana Sanchez-Morales; Rachel Johnson, sister; Robert Ramirez, brother; Thomas Jeffery Johnson, nephew; Ana Maria Diaz, niece; numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews; and Diego, her beloved Jack Russell Terrier.

Guillerma grew up in the Diamond Hill area of Fort Worth. A graduate of Tremble Tech High School, she attended the University of Texas at Arlington. She also earned dual master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University and North Texas University. Guillerma held a lifelong career as a teacher and an administrator in the Fort Worth Independent School District. She retired in 2002, but she continued to work as a substitute administer and hearing officer for the FWISD administration for years thereafter.

On behalf of the AGIF across the country we shared our condolences and those of our members with her husband, Past National Commander Tony Morales, her son Tony Jr., and to her entire family, we humbly offered our prayers and sympathies knowing that she rests in the Everlasting Peace of Christ Almighty.

AGIF Conference Celebrated its 75th Anniversary at its Birthplace in Corpus Christi, Texas

AGIF Conference Celebrated its 75th Anniversary at its Birthplace in Corpus Christi, Texas

The American GI Forum of Texas, Inc Report: CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The American GI Forum of Texas and host Beatrice T. Perez Womens Robstown Chapter, delegates and members of the American GI Forum, Celebrated the 75th anniversary of the American GI Forum at its birthplace, Corpus Christi, Texas, June 19-21, 2023. Corpus Christi is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the nation. It is the county seat of Nueces County, it extends into Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio counties.

This year the annual conference gave us an opportunity to welcome and thank Corporate America as we offered them an opportunity to network with our leadership by attending our luncheons and banquets as well as our VIP receptions and visit with our leadership, membership and invited guests.

Our advocacy work at the State Capitols and our partnership with Corporate America allows us to exchange ideas on how we can mutually benefit and help our veterans and communities.We were honored to have the Honorable Paulette Guajardo, Mayor of Corpus Christi present for the opening of celebration luncheon and welcomed us to this beautiful city. Ms. Barbi Leo, 3News Co-Anchor served as AGIF Event Mistress of Ceremonies.

We were honored to have the 4 members of the County Commissioners Court, representatives from the Texas State Senate and House of Representatives. We also honored some very special guests and outstanding AGIF members. Among them our National Commander, Luis Vazquez Contes as well as Presidential Medal of Freedom Nominees, LeRoy and Rosie Torres, Founders of the Burn Pits 360 Group, advocates helping veterans suffering from injuries caused by the massive disposal sites on overseas bases, the PACT ACT.

The American GI Forum Conference Honored 3 outstanding Volunteer Women for their hard work, their dedication and commitment to their communities. They are Sylvia Amaro, HR Manager, American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP); Sylvia Garza, State Chairwoman, Greater San Marcos SSGT J.P. Nevares Memorial Women’s Chapter and Jeanie Aleman, State Vice Chairwoman Greater Houston Women’s Chapter.

The conference, beside our own AGIF business sessions, Mr. J. J. De La Cerda, Nueces County Director of Veterans Services and Veterans Service Officer conducted a Special Veterans Benefits Workshop. President and CEO of the National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP), Mr. Sergio Dickerson who did an outstanding job as speaker at our 75th Luncheon and Commanders’ Dinner. All Luncheons, and Dinners were well attended. A very special treat at the 75th Anniversary Luncheon hosted Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi on Tuesday.

As an Appreciative gesture, the American GI Forum of Texas Commander, the Board of directors, members, and Conference Committee wish to thank President and CEO, Dr. Kelly Miller, Texas A&M-CC and her staff for their Hospitality, continued support, for making this Historic 75th Anniversary Celebration at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

We also appreciated and enjoyed the wonderful Corpus Christi weather, sunny beaches, the beautiful sites, the camaraderie with friends from around the state and the great South Texas Hospitality. Again, thanks to the host, the Beatrice T. Perez Women’s Robstown Chapter and Chair Leslie Cristan for providing this conference attendees a memorable stay