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Historic Figures

  1. Del Velasquez - In 1995, Del Velasquez received the National Advocate of The Year Award from the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for his work to strengthen business opportunities within AT&T. Prior to receiving this recognition he was recognized by the New York Federation of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Libero-American Chamber of Commerce, Washington D.C., and the Philadelphia and Boston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for his advocacy in their respective markets.

    His work to bridge ties with corporate America and the Hispanic community began early in his career when he developed a program to assist non-speaking Spanish customer service representatives at Southwest Bell to navigate a basis conversation with Spanish Speaking customers. He also Co-Chaired the Fiesta Patrias Parade in Houston, Texas the second largest attended parade in Houston. Leonel Castillo, the first Hispanic City Comptroller of Houston and the first Hispanic to be appointed to President Jimmy Carter’s administration as Commissioner of Immigration Services appointed him to the Board of Director of the “University With No Walls”. For his efforts he was awarded the Outstanding Frist Year Member by the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce.

    AT&T selected Mr. Velasquez to become a member of a national taskforce with the goal to develop a strategic plan to market and outreach to the Hispanic community one of the first corporate program of its kind. He also, served as a national director of the AT&T employee support group – HISPA.

    During his career at AT&T, he was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Association on Hispanic Corporate Responsibility, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Advisory Boards of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, National Council of La Raza, United League of Latin American Council, Latin American Manufactures Association and American G.I Forum.

    As Managing Director of Ethic Marketing at AT&T he developed key marketing programs with Major League Soccer during its inaugural season and worked with advertising agency Young and Rubicam during the initial founding of their Hispanic marketing company “The Bravo Group”.

    During the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE (Verizon) he served as Assistant Vice President under the leadership of Oscar Gomez, Executive Vice President of the Office of Diversity who is also from San Angelo. Their leadership efforts facilitated the partnership between GTE and a Hispanic investment group which lead to the founding of Valero, the first Hispanic owned local exchange telephone company.

    Following the merger, Mr. Velasquez was assigned to establish the first government affairs office within the Puerto Rico Telephone Company and served as corporate liaison during the transition of this joint venture.

    In 2004, Mr. Velasquez became Vice President of Federal Government Affairs at Verizon which provided him the opportunity to continue his advocacy for the Hispanic community. During his tenure, he was appointed to the Board of the University of Texas - Pan-American Foundation and continued to serve on many of the national Hispanic organizations.

    In 2011 he became the Chairman of the Diversity Committee of the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce and received Special Recognition Diversity Award in 2015.

  2. Elma Jacques - Elma Jaques was born and raised in San Angelo. She currently advocates for League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Jaques has been the President of the San Angelo Chapter, and was the District Director for 15 years, in the role she traveled to rural areas assisting the Hispanic community. In 1982 she was introduced to LULAC by Bertha Linton and Joe Hernandez and has been blessed and rewarded by the opportunity to help Hispanic people in need. Through LULAC she was able to help open doors, to help people to stand on their own, and help them become part of the community. She loves helping people and has strived to help Hispanics have equal opportunities. Her favorite quote is “All for one and one for all,” the LULAC slogan and words she has lived by.

    Growing up with a single mom, Elma decided to leave school at the end of 7th grade to help her mom support themselves. Her mom did not want her to, but Elma was determined to help. At the time monthly rent was $35, she took a job and made $20 a week. Elma still owns their family home in the barrio. Eventually Elma was hired to work at Berry’s, she started in the cafeteria and worked there for one day. Mrs. Mady, the owner, told Elma she would be working with her; Mrs. Mady designed house shoes and Elma became her assistant. Mrs. Jaques was then hired as personnel administrator and was cross trained in payroll, she worked at Berry’s for 20 years. She then worked at Ethicon as the personnel administrator for 8 years. Elma was always driven and felt blessed to hold positions in her lifetime that required a degree that she did not have.

    Elma along with the late John Cedillo, Reverend Tomas Chavez are the founders of La Esperanza Clinic. The trio were discussing the need for healthcare for Hispanics in the barrio. Most Hispanics did not have a primary care physician; when they needed medical care, they would go to the emergency room. The idea for a clinic for Hispanics was formed. They decided to approach Lawrence Leonard at Shannon Medical Center about the idea of a clinic to address the Hispanic health care needs. Mr. Lawrence agreed to help, but requested the group seek out additional grants to aid with the cost. Cedillo, Chavez, and Jaques traveled to Washington DC to lobby for funding for the clinic. They spoke of the needs of the Hispanic community in the barrio, their need for health care, and the support they had from Shannon Medical Center. Having a clinic would assist the hospital lessen the crowding in the emergency room and lessen their expenses. The group was awarded the grants and La Esperanza Clinic “hope” was born. Mrs. Jaques spoke with her friends Nicolas and Bertha Garcia, who owned a lot on the corner of Chadbourne and Avenue L, about purchasing the property for a clinic and they agreed to sell it. Shannon assisted with building the facilities, provided furnishings and medical equipment, and also helped them to obtain additional grants. When the clinic opened in 1994 patients could get care for a $10 fee. La Esperanza Clinic recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Over the years they have seen thousands of patients and now provide health care for patients of all races and walks of life!

    The late John Cedillo and Elma also chartered Habitat for Humanity in San Angelo. It was John’s passion and they worked together on the project. There have been many homes built for people of all races in need in our community. She sees the fruit of their persistence and determination to start the organization.

    Jaques has been a part of LULAC, the Republican Women, Chairperson for the March of Dimes, Civic Events Board, and is the designated agent with the Texas State Lottery Commission to qualify charities to receive donations. She has received recognition from The Tom Green County Action Council, the NAACP (San Angelo Branch), SAISD, Diocese of San Angelo, and La Esperanza Clinic. In 1982, LULAC named her Woman of the Year and LULACER of the year.

    Today there is more opportunity being a woman. When she started in personnel at Berry’s it was all men. Now, there are many more educated females in professional roles. She says, “It makes me happy to see Hispanics working in all roles. We are making headway and receiving more exposure and respect. Time has changed, I love it.”

  3. Alma Figueroa - The most symbolic achievement of Mexican Americans in high school was the election of Wilma Figueroa as queen of the 1958 Homecoming football game. It seemed a fortuitous way for Mexican Americans to start off things at the newly built Central High School. -San Angelenos, Arnoldo De Leon.

  4. Gregorio Guitierrez - Conexión San Ángelo founder Gregorio Gutierrez grew up in Mexico, he began working at the age of 12. As a child, Gregorio had a big vision that reached beyond his pueblo. That vision brought him to the United States in 1984. Establishing himself in San Angelo in 1986, he married his now wife and business partner, Araceli Gutierrez in 1990. Gregorio founded the first bilingual newspaper in San Angelo, Conexion Hispana. Conexion holds an annual Christmas Posada where gifts and funds are raised for San Angelo’s children most in need. He recently celebrated the 17th Anniversary of Conexion and has received many accolades over the years.
    2002-2012 Serving The Community Award presented by San Angelo Nurses.
    2004 - Received the Media Honor Roll Award presented by SAISD that recognized media representatives statewide for fair and balanced reporting of news about public schools.
    2005 - Recognized as one of 40 top Spanish Medias in the USA and Canada.
    2006 - Received Flag that flew at the Capitol Building; Honored by Lions International for Exceptional Contributions, Loyalty, and Dedicated Service to the Community.
    2007 - Certificate of Merit for Dedication, Sacrifice and Commitment presented by Hon. Guillermo C. Serna and George W. Bush.
    2008 - Outstanding Progress Award presented by State Representative Michael Conaway; Appreciation Award presented by Mexican Consulate Ricardo Ahuja.
    2010 - Received Certificate of Appreciation presented by the United States Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census
    2011 - Business of the Year presented by ADACCV; Certificate of Appreciation presented by ASU Nursing Students; Received Certificate of Appreciation presented by San Angelo Museum Fine Arts (SAMFA) for Exceptional Contributions, and dedication to promote the Arts, Culture, and History in our Community.
    2013 - State of Texas Recognition of Community Spirit and Entrepreneurial Award by Governor Rick Perry; Outstanding Service Award presented by State Representative Drew Darby.
    2014 - Recognition for Passion and Pride for Mexico by Mexican Consulate, presented by Ricardo Santana Velazquez; Recognition for Outstanding Service for promoting the United Way; Pursuit of Excellence Certificate of Appreciation presented by Austin Territory.
    2015 - Received the Media Honor Roll Award presented by SAISD.
    2016 - Appreciation Award presented by The Housing Authority of The City of Del Río in Recognition for public contribution to volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.
    2017 - Recognition for the invaluable service to promote the communication and culture of communities such as San Angelo and Del Río, Passion and Pride for México by Mexican Consulate, presented by Carlos Obrador Garrido Cuesta; Diversity Recognition Award presented to Conexión Hispana International LLC, by the San Angelo Chamber Commerce.
    2018 - Honored by Lions International for Exceptional Contributions, Loyalty, and Dedication; The Pachyderm club awarded Gregorio Gutierrez with the “Community Spirit and Entrepreneurial Recognition” award for his work with “Conexion San Angelo”.
    2019 - Received the Media Honor Roll presented by SAISD.

  5. Manny Campos - Gustavo Manuel “Manny” Campos graduated from Angelo State University (ASU) with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Minor in History and a Master of Public Administration. He is currently the Instructor of Political Science at ASU. Manny is driven by the idea of leaving things better for the next generation and for him, that is his nephews, family, students, athletes, and future leaders. As a teacher and musician, he believes we are given a very powerful weapon in our ability to share our crafts with others. The impact is bigger than any one person and can last generations. Campos loves how our community comes together for those in need. Whether through non-profits and churches to simply giving our neighbors a hand, we are a model for many cities. He has given his time and efforts to the following agencies:

    Board President for Galilee Community Development Corporation, Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center, United Way of the Concho Valley, K.S.A.B., Keep San Angelo Beautiful board, 2012 Top 20 Under 40 Young Professionals, San Angelo A.I.D.S. Foundation, and Census 2010, Complete Count Committee Member.

    His favorite quote is by Winston Churchill “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Thank you Manny for your contributions to San Angelo! Adelante!

  6. Dorothy Borden - Dorothy's remarkable journey began in 2021 when she joined the Dia de los Muertos committee. Her dedication and enthusiasm shone through as she crafted intricate decorations for our Dia de los Muertos celebration and volunteered tirelessly to ensure perfection at the River stage setuIn 2022, Dorothy's commitment deepened as she joined the SAHHM board of directors and became the River Stage coordinator for the Dia de los Muertos Celebration. Her dedication led to award-winning parade floats for the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo and the Juneteenth parade. Dorothy's unwavering commitment to preserving and promoting Hispanic culture embodies the spirit of the Eva Camunez Tucker Service Award, illuminating our shared heritage for all to cherish.

  7. Tony Villarreal - Tony's journey reflects over two decades of dedication to his community as a Risk Advisor and a champion of customer service. His commitment to public service began in Rocksprings, Texas, serving on the City Council at 19 and the Edwards County Commissioner's Court at 21. After relocating to San Angelo, Tony continued his legacy of community involvement, including serving on numerous boards and organizations, such as the Minority Alliance Network Organization, ADACCV, West Texas CREO, Southside Lions, Economic Development Board, and more. Tony's lasting positive influence mirrors the spirit of the Carolina Angela de la Garza Dewitt Legend Award, reflecting a true legend who continues to shape our beloved city.

  8. Ernest Perez - Ernest's life journey embodies resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to community and civic service. Growing up in the post-World War II era amidst poverty and hardship, he took on the role of family provider during his adolescent and teenage years, working tirelessly in various jobs to support his mother and siblings.  Ernest's experiences during his formative years instilled in him the fundamentals of leadership, management, supervision, and delegation of authority. Ernest's professional career at Terrill Manufacturing Company from 1955 to 1996 was marked by exceptional achievements. Starting in the glue department, he advanced to the drafting office and became an estimator. His proficiency and business acumen earned him a place on the company's board of directors. Ernest retired as Vice President of Sales at the age of 60. In the 1960s, Ernest Perez became a well-known figure in San Angelo, dedicating himself to community and civic service. Throughout his career, he served on numerous local commissions, councils, and boards, contributing significantly to organizations like the Civil Service Commission, the San Angelo Planning Commission, the Cultural Affairs Council, and the Chamber of Commerce. Ernest also played an active role in civic groups, clubs, and associations, supporting causes such as education through organizations like LULAC and the Pan American Golf Association (P.A.G.A.). His efforts helped raise thousands of dollars in scholarships for local graduates. He also contributed to the United Way, the Salvation Army, the San Angelo Symphony, and served as PTA president at Reagan Elementary School.

  9. Maria Cardenas - In 1976 Cárdenas spearheaded a successful campaign to create a single-member district voting system for the San Angelo city commission. The proposed city charter amendment challenged the at-large voting system that the city of San Angelo traditionally used. The change to single-member districts allowed marginalized residents to elect members of their own neighborhood onto the city council. After the measure was overwhelmingly approved by voters in April 1976, Cárdenas was named to a special advisory board tasked with drawing up the boundaries for the newly-created districts. On May 13, 1978, the Rio Vista neighborhood elected Cárdenas to represent District 3 of the San Angelo city commission; she was the first Mexican American woman to serve in this capacity. She eventually served on the city commission (known as the city council since 1979) for three consecutive terms. During that time, Cárdenas pushed for improvements to basic services in her previously-underrepresented district such as paved roads, street lights, and a monthly blood pressure clinic for barrio residents. She was also instrumental in convincing the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund construction of a public housing development for low-income seniors living in the Rio Vista neighborhood. Additionally, in 1981 she coordinated efforts between LULAC, the American G.I. Forum, and Texas Rural Legal Aid to challenge a Tom Green County redistricting plan that threatened to weaken minority voting power. The San Angelo city council unanimously elected her to serve as mayor pro-tem for the 1982–83 term.
    Cárdenas’s contributions to the city of San Angelo were recognized on a number of occasions. In 1980 she was the only woman included on a list of the twenty-five most powerful San Angeloans. A panel of local judges selected the list. In 1983 she was named the most powerful woman in San Angelo in a poll conducted by the San Angelo Standard-Times. In 1984 she was nominated for induction into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame by the Governor’s Commission for Women, and in 1993 she was recognized by the Hispanic Development Division of the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce at their annual “Quest for Success” luncheon. In November 2001 the San Angelo city council named the María Cárdenas U.S. 87 Pedestrian Overpass in her honor. The overpass, which allowed children attending Rio Vista Elementary School to safely cross a major thoroughfare, was built largely due to her efforts. A plaque located by the bridge entrance reads, “The key to her success was her vision, sincere belief in the voice of the people, perseverance and devotion to her cause that gained her the respect and admiration of many.” - Handbook of Texas. Photo from San Angelenos, Arnoldo De Leon

  10. Daniel Valenzuela - San Angelo City Manager Daniel Valenzuela has his roots firmly planted in West Texas, having grown up in Fort Stockton and having served as City Manager there. After graduating high school in Fort Stockton, Valenzuela served a tour in the U.S. Army, and was honorably discharged in 1993. He then spent time attending to family matters before enrolling at Texas Tech University and earning a Master of Business Administration in 2000. He was subsequently employed as a business and accounting instructor at Midland College Regional Technical Training Center while also working as the Chief Financial Officer and, later, Unit Health Administrator for Pecos County Memorial Health System.

    From 2003-07, Valenzuela served as City Manager in Fort Stockton and then moved to the City of Eagle Pass, where he served as City Manager from 2008 until he was chosen as San Angelo's City Manager in 2012.

    Valenzuela's accomplishments in Eagle Pass included facilitating a fund balance increase of $2.8 million despite having lost $800,000 in revenues via the bridge enterprise fund, and planning and implementing a new waste collection system that eliminated a $500,000 per year budget shortfall and ultimately netted a profit of $1.3 million annually. Valenzuela was also instrumental in streamlining many of the City's processes to help make the city run more efficiently. For his efforts, Valenzuela was named Public Manager of the Year for 2011 by the Eagle Pass Business Journal.

    Valenzuela celebrated his sixth anniversary as San Angelo's City Manager this past October. Since joining the City, he has been at the forefront of efforts to secure more water, improve streets and other infrastructure, streamline development processes, make pay more competitive for City employees, and increase the number of first-responders. His administration has secured water rights to the Hickory Aquifer and pursued an expansion of its well field. That has positioned San Angelo to eventually have the capacity to pump, transport and treat up to 12 million gallons per day from the groundwater source. Valenzuela was also the architect for an eight-year cycle to maintain every City street. At the same time, his team has guided the rebuilding and repaving of San Angelo's worst streets under an $80 million, 10-year commitment made by the City Council. These accomplishments have been made while maintaining a constant property tax rate throughout his tenure.

    What I like best about my public service: It is quite humbling to be in a position to help people and to be involved in decision-making that will determine the future of our community. It's a tremendous responsibility, which calls for clear focus and a relentless drive to ensure the successful implementation and completion of the City's plans.

  11. Noe Lara Camunez -Between 1950 and 1953, Noé Lara Camúñez served as principal of Sam Houston Elementary School, 309 W. Avenue M, in San Angelo. Mr. Camúñez traced his origins to the town’s Hispanic’s First Families; his sister was Eva Camúñez Tucker, the well-known San Angelo philanthropist of the 1970s to the early 2000s. Noé graduated from San Angelo schools and in 1940 from Southwest Texas Teachers College in San Marcos. After attending the University of Texas in the late 1940s, he found employment at Sam Houston Elementary.
    As principal during the early 1950s, Mr. Camúñez took close interest in his students’ learning. In efforts to help them improve their performance, he made house visits during which he apprised parents of their children’s progress. His success as an educator led to other opportunities and in 1953 he left Sam Houston Elementary to assume the position of principal of J. T. Breckenridge Elementary in San Antonio. There, throughout the rest of the decade, he earned several awards and citations of merit. In 1988, the San Angelo Independent School District dedicated the library at Fort Concho Elementary School in honor of Noé Lara Camúñez. His story is told by Ed Tinney, “‘I’ll Keep My Children’: The Life of Pioneer Educator Noé Lara Camúñez,” West Texas Historical Association Yearbook 75 (1999).

  12. Judge Dick Alcala - Judge Alcalá has 29 years of judicial experience. He served as District Attorney in Tom Green County, Texas from 1982-88. He served as District Judge for the 340th District from 1989-2000 Upon retirement he was granted Senior District Judge status and continues to serve regularly in that capacity in various counties around the State. Judge Alcala is also an experienced mediator and arbitrator in cases involving all varieties of civil cases ranging from personal injury, wrongful death, employment, commercial, and real estate litigation.

    Professional Memberships:
    State Bar of Texas, ADR and Computer Technology Sections
    Board of Directors, Texas Center for the Judiciary- 2007-2011
    El Paso County Bar Association, Board Member 2004-2007; Board Secretary 2006, Chair ADR Committee 2005
    Tom Green County Bar Association 1979-2000
    U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas
    U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas U.S. Court of Appeals,5 th Circuit
    Association of Attorney Mediators, Bexar County Chapter 

  13. Arnoldo DeLeon - This morning I would like to honor and thank the gentleman who wrote the book San Angelenos which holds so much of our Hispanic history in its pages. I encourage you all to pick up a copy and read more about our history. As they say, if you do not know history you are doomed to repeat it.

    Dr. Arnoldo De León, Ph.D.
    Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus

    Arnoldo De León served as a member of the Angelo State University Department of History from 1973-2015. After acquiring his undergraduate education at ASU, De León enrolled at Texas Christian University where he earned his advanced degrees: M.A. (1971) and Ph.D. (1974).

    At ASU, he taught classes in American History, Latin American History, Mexican American History, and Texas History. A specialist in Chicano History, he published widely in the field, having authored or co-authored some twenty-one books, sixty-two essays (in addition to numerous other minor publications), and seventy-six book reviews. The University of Texas Press published his doctoral dissertation under the title They Called Them Greaser (1983). Today, it is regarded as classic in Tejano history.

    De León attained many distinctions during the course of his career at ASU. He spent 1986 at the University of Houston as a Visiting Scholar; held the C.J. ASU website

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