As noted in the program for the Inaugural Event Jan. 15, 2013, "... Young Hector faced discrimination all his life, however, his early interactions made him understand that the road to a successful, independent career... was going to be difficult ... Being denied residency in Texas because of his ethnicity, he earned a medical/surgical internship in Omaha, Nebraska ... He earned a Bronze Star with six battle stars in the US Army medical corps in the European Theater of Operations ... He met and married Wanda Fusillo in Naples, Italy, in 1945 ... Setting up his medical practice in Corpus Christi, he quickly saw that the promises made to veterans by the government were not being fulfilled ... With a group of Veterans on March 26, 1948, he founded the American GI Forum (AGIF) [at Mirabeau B. Lamar Elementary School near St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Corpus Christi] ... the mission of AGIF expanded to civil rights, including the Felix Longoria Affair [with Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson at Three Rivers, Tx), Hernandez vs Texas, and other cases that resulted in desegregation of schools, movie theaters, hotels and cemeteries ... Texas Legislators passed SB 495 the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Texas State Recognition Day, in 2009 [Rep. Todd Hunter, Rep. Juan Garcia among key sponsors] ... Dr. Hector devoted his life to help others. His sacrifices, determination, and perseverance resulted in changes to today's society that made life better for all Americans."
How could I resist the invitation and opportunity to be of service offered by his daughter, Cecilia Akers, MD.
The Breakfast, attended by 200, included the area's brightest colleagues and new friends empowered by their loyalties to Dr. Hector and their affection for one another. Michael J. (late wife, Carolyn) Westergren, Elaine Carter, Elizabeth Leach, George Gongora, Alicia, fabled entertainer Johnny Canales, Maria and veterans advocate Enrique Caballero. Robert Barrera (AGIF, brother of boxer Lefty Barrera), Dr. Hector's sister Dahlia and his grandson Cyrus Mallison. Todd Hunter, State Rep District 32 [Friend him through Elect Todd Hunter on FB], Matilda Delgado Saenz, PhD, administrative assistant to State Rep Abel Herrero, Moses Estrada, commander, AGIF Organization of Texas, Inc, Dr. Hector Founders Chapter. Guy Williams, District Judge 148th District Court, Elizabeth Protas, PT, PhD, FACSM, FAPTA, Vice President and Dean, Senior Fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging School of Health Professions, UTMB-Galveston [geriatric physical therapy the specialty at the Transitional Learning Center]. Larry Elizondo of CITGO/Houston, Maria and Nick Jimenez (to save the best for last).
"The Legacy Continues!"