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2016 National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri is History

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: (KANSAS CITY MISSOURI) – The National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri hosted by the American GI Forum (AGIF) Ulysses Chapter with Mrs. Barbara Olivas as Chair of the Conference is now part of AGIF History.

The 3-day event begin on Thursday, July 27, 2016 with the Annual Meetings of the Hispanic Education Foundation (HEF), the National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP)and a Veterans Workshop, a Luncheon hosted by the NVOP with Executive Vice President Yolanda Suarez as the speaker and concluding with a casino outing that evening.

The Conference General Session was called to order on Friday morning by National Commander Angel Zuniga. The morning session read and approved the Conference Rules and Agenda; approved the minutes and concluded with a Youth Leadership Seminar followed by the Youth Luncheon and Competition.

The afternoon session included the National Treasurer’s report and 2nd reading of the Credentials.

The Commander’s Banquet that evening with Past National Commander Jake Alarid as MC was highlighted with Keynote speaker Lisa J. Pozzebo Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Field Operations, Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). She is responsible for the effective operation and oversight of 5 district offices and an Appeals Management Center in the VBA. The VBA administers compensation, pensions, vocational rehabilitation and employment and loan guaranty benefit programs for Veterans and their Beneficiaries.

The Awards Banquet also included a 50th commemorating Anniversary Pinning Ceremony honoring the Vietnam era veterans.

Lifetime. Achievement Awards were presented to three outstanding AGIF members. Mr. Gil Rodriguez, Austin, Texas, AGIF of Texas CEO, Mr. Albert Gonzales, Colorado Springs Colorado, past National Commander and Mr. Luis Vazquez Contes, Pueblo Colorado, National Vice Commander and Immediate Past National Commander. The following awards and Scholarships were presented to our future leaders that evening.

  • Outstanding Women of the Year Felicita Lugo (Michigan)
  • Outstanding Forumeer of the Year Freddy Garza(Texas)
  • Neil  Zabicki, Outstanding Forum's Chapter  (Michigan)
  • Outstanding Women's Chapter of the Year Pueblo Women (Colorado)
  • Outstanding Youth Chapter of the Year (Detroit, Michigan) 
  • Outstanding Youth of the Year Alexis Jasmine (Detroit, Michigan)

The National Youth Education Achievement Scholarship Awards are as follows: 

  • 1st Runner Up Jasmine Vigil $800.00 
  • Sarah Laredo Kansas $1000.00

Saturday featured the Women’s Leadership Initiative Luncheon with Speaker Veronica Padilla, National Chairwoman of MANA. The Women also honored some of our recently departed members which included Sarah Barela from Colorado, Ollie Zuniga from Michigan; Louis Telles from New Mexico, Marian Martinez from Nebraska; Jose 'Chepe' Alonzo, Kansas and Dr. C.P. Garcia, Texas, brother of AGIF Founder, Dr. Hector P. Garcia.

During the afternoon session an amendment to the National Constitution was read and passed for consideration and adoption at our next Conference. The Amendment calls for allowing 15-year-olds to participate for the election of Youth Chair. Resolutions were read and some adopted. We presently do not have a list of resolutions nor action taken. Elections were conducted and Angel Zuniga and Felicita Lugo remain as Commander and chair of the Forum and Women's Group. Texas CEO Gil Rodriguez bid for and was awarded the 2018 National Conference for Texas to be held in San Antonio. This Conference will celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the American GI Forum. A busy, but productive conference was adjourned.

That evening at the Founder’s Reception, the newly 2016 AGIF National Board was sworn in by Past National Commander Antonio Gil Morales. Below are the New National Leaders for 2016-1017.

American GI Forum:

  • National Commander Angel Zuniga
  • National Vice Commander Michael Faye
  • National Secretary Russell Lopez
  • National Treasurer Ernesto Montoya
  • National SGT at Arms Jesse Aguilera
  • Past National Commander Luis Vazquez Contes

American GI Forum Women

  • National Chairwoman Felicita Lugo 
  • National Women's Vice Chairwoman Debbie Salazar
  • National Women's Secretary Kathy Clenin   
  • National Women's Treasurer (Vacant)
  • Past National Chairwoman Alicia Rodriguez

American GI Forum Youth

  • National Youth Chair Jasmine Vigil Michigan 
  • National Vice Youth Chair Mercedes Rodriguez Kansas
  • National Youth Secretary Casandra Rodriguez Kansas
  • National Youth Treasurer Sarah Laredo Kansas
  • Former Youth Chair Mercedes Rodriguez

Our appreciation and thanks to Mrs. Patsy Vazquez Contes, Past Texas AGIF and National AGIF Chairwoman, Mr. John Martinez, Texas AGIF State Commander and Mr. Gil Rodriguez, Texas AGIF CEO for helping us record and archive this 3-day event with the photos below.


 2016 National Conference Photos



Ulysses Kansas, National Conference Hosts Invite You to the AGIF 2016 Conference in Kansas City, Missouri 

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: Ulysses, Kansas – The 2016 National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, "The City of Fountains", is schedule for July 27-30, 2016. Mrs. Barbara Olivas, the Conference Chair and her committee have finished with preparations and are ready to provide a memorable conference. Commander Angel Zuniga and the Board Members urge your attendence. You will be able to register on site. You will note that the conference will be on the Missouri side of Kansas City where there is more activities for members attending. 

The 2016 National Conference has provided us additional information. Commander Zuniga reminds delegations, that a duly passed motion at the National Conference in San Francisco last year called for each Forum Chapter to have at least 8 Veterans on their roster. This rule will be imposed and will appear in the Convention Rules. We also remind you that memberships cards may have not arrived in time for you to present them, but the Credential's committee will be available to clarify your status. If you registered on line you may have already been qualified. We also are advising that some Meetings have be rescheduled. Most notably the NVOP will meet at 3:00 pm instead of the scheduled time.

The Conference committee has prepared an itinerary that will let you enjoy the area while attending all the official business sessions. Please enjoy yourselves but please participate at all general sessions.

Kansas City, or K.C., is the largest city, and second largest metropolitan area, in the state of Missouri. It is the 37th–largest city by population in the United States and the 23rd–largest by area. It is the central city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas–Missouri border. It was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the west. Originally called Kansas after the river, this became confusing upon the establishment of Kansas Territory in 1854. The name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish the two. 

The Conference Committees are working on all planned activities and are being finalized.  Any updates will be posted as soon as we received them. Please contact Mrs. Barbara Olivas with questions on Hotel, program itinerary and conference schedules. Contact our National Commander Angel Zuniga on matters pertaining to the Agenda and AGIF business matters and schedules. 

Please look forward to another well-planned and successful conference. 

2016 National Conference - Kansas City, MO