Tuesday, October 21, 2014
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

Lost & Found

Lost: Diamond set in gold mounting prongs, fell off my wife's wedding ring, in Floresville, reward offered. 210-867-1319.

Video Lost: Cat, black and white, last seen the evening of Sept. 29 in the Woodcreek Subdivision area, La Vernia. Reward for his safe return. Call Richard, 830-779-2080 or 210-776-4930.
If you are missing a pet in Floresville, be sure to check the Floresville holding facility. Animals are only kept for 3 days. Contact Las Lomas K-9 Rescue, 830-581-8041.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Billing and Shipping Rep. needed for local manufacturer in Elmendorf. Responsibilities: customer service, sales order entry, bills of lading, internet sales and shipping, filing, and answering phones. Requirements: high school diploma or GED, packaging and shipping knowledge preferred with DOT and HAZMAT. Excellent benefits offered.  Fax 210-635-7999 Email resumes@vpracingfuels.com; 7124 Richter Road, Elmendorf, TX.
The City of Stockdale is accepting applications to fill the full-time position of Field Employee. A Class ‘D’ Water or Waste Water license preferred but not required to apply for job position. A complete job description and application may be  obtained from Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. at City Hall, 700 W. Main St., Stockdale, Texas 78160. Deadline to submit a job application is by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 3, 2014. The City of Stockdale is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›

Commentaries


Honoring the Life and Legacy of Hector P. Garcia




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

Disclaimer:
The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn
March 27, 2012 | 2058 views | 1 comment

This month marks 64 years since a young, bold and compassionate Army veteran and physician set out to ensure that veterans received equal benefits and care regardless of their race or ethnicity. On March 26, 1948, Dr. Hector P. Garcia was joined by more than 700 fellow Mexican-American veterans in forming the American GI Forum in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Garcia, then 34, had attained the rank of major in the Army Medical Corps for his service in World War II. He was born in Mexico and brought as a young boy to Mercedes, Texas, in 1917, as his parents fled the Mexican Revolution. He proved to be an able student, graduating from the University of Texas Medical School in 1940. He later joined the U.S. Army, serving as an infantryman, a combat engineer and a medical doctor during World War II. His distinguished service earned him the Bronze Star and six battle stars in Italy.

Upon returning from the war to Corpus Christi, Garcia began working with the Veterans Administration. He was disappointed when he noticed a disturbing trend: many of his fellow Mexican-American veterans were not receiving proper medical treatment and educational benefits. “I had to learn the Constitution to become a citizen,” Garcia said. “I knew all the rights, all the things that it gave us.”

Many of the Mexican-Americans who served in World War II served not as officers, but as enlisted infantrymen and gunboat attendants on the front lines of battle. They made great sacrifices and shared a strong sense of accomplishment, noted by historian Henry Ramos: “These were highly courageous individuals who fought with fervor and conviction for the nation they represented.”

However, many returning Mexican-American service members met long delays and general neglect when they sought the educational, financial and health benefits promised to them under the GI Bill. In Texas, the rate of receipt of VA checks for Mexican-Americans was typically six to eight months longer than their fellow veterans. Delays marked their applications for formal schooling, often preventing them from registering for school on time, and health care needs were being neglected. In Corpus Christi, which was predominantly Hispanic, the city-county health unit had classified 34 percent of the area’s family dwelling units as sub-standard in 1948. The death rate from tuberculosis was nearly twice the average for the state of Texas.

Prompted by these hardships, Garcia called together a meeting of more than 700 Mexican-American veterans to determine a course of action. On March 26, 1948, Garcia founded the American GI Forum to push for equal treatment. The name intentionally excluded any direct ethnic identification in order to emphasize the equality of all veterans, regardless of race or ethnicity.

A year later, the GI Forum and Garcia were catapulted into national prominence by what became known as the “Felix Longoria Affair.” Felix Longoria, from Three Rivers, Texas, was a soldier killed by a Japanese sniper in the Philippines during World War II. He was originally interred there, but in 1949, his widow decided to move his body home. The funeral director, however, declared she could not hold a wake in the town’s sole funeral chapel because the dead man was a Mexican-American.

Garcia contacted then-U.S. Sen. Lyndon Johnson, who arranged a burial for Longoria with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, with Garcia and the news media in attendance.

Afterwards, Garcia and the GI Forum became a forceful advocate and publicist for equal rights. Garcia was known to accomplish most of his best work quietly. Judge James deAnda recalled accompanying the doctor to an abandoned railroad boxcar to treat a dying grandfather. “He took care of the man, and we would go in other homes that were just about as humble,” deAnda said. “The people obviously had no means of paying or even getting to his office. He would see all these people and administer to them. They had just absolute faith in the man.”

At President Johnson’s nomination, Garcia became the first Mexican-American to serve as an ambassador to the United Nations. He was also the first Hispanic on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Before he died in 1996, Garcia received dozens of additional awards and honors.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan bestowed upon Garcia the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “That was the highlight of his life,” recalled Garcia’s daughter, Cecilia Akers. “He wore that medal everywhere he went.”

Several years ago, I was proud to have a hand in adding the names of two Texas civil rights pioneers, including Garcia, to the official title of the Voting Rights Act. This amended title was signed into law by President Bush in 2008, and I was humbled to present an engraved copy of the bill to Hector Garcia’s widow, Wanda.

In military service, in medicine, and in the civil rights movement, Dr. Garcia answered the call of duty at every opportunity and made a positive difference in the lives of millions of Americans. His story reminds us all that progress in our society is often made possible by the devotion of selfless men and women, who give and sacrifice for greater principles.
 
« Previous Blog Entry (March 26, 2012)
 


Your Opinions and Comments
 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
March 27, 2012 1:10pm
 
 
New column posted.
 

Share your comment or opinion on this story!


You must be logged in to post comments:



Other Commentaries



Commentaries
Commentaries page govtrack.us
Commentaries who represents me?

Blue Moon Karaoke & DJAllstate & McBride RealtyDrama KidsSacred Heart SchoolVoncille Bielefeld homeChester WilsonTriple R DC ExpertsWilson's Auto ChooserHeavenly Touch home
  Copyright © 2007-2014 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.