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San Antonio Miguel Hernandez Memorial Chapter’s Pancho Claus Present at Annual Turkeys and Toys Program
By Cosme J. Barcelo, Program Chairman

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: SAN ANTONIO, Texas–The Pancho Claus Christmas Program, sponsored by the Miguel Hernandez Memorial Chapter of the American GI Forum distributed turkeys with all the trimmings to over 85 families on Saturday, December 20 at the Circus Play-Mor Bingo Hall in San Antonio. An individually gifted wrapped toy was given to over 450 children in these participating families. 

Pancho Claus made a personal appearance to give candy canes and toys to children who came up to greet him. He tells the children that Pancho Claus is Santa Claus’s cousin (or primo) from the South Pole.  For over thirty years, Pancho Claus has made his annual journey to San Antonio to help his primo distribute toys to a special group of children who have performed good deeds throughout the year. It is surprising to discover there so many children in San Antonio didn’t even know that Santa Claus had a cousin. 

With community support, the Pancho Claus Christmas Program has helped to bring the true spirit of Christmas to many deserving families and children who may have a far from an ideal holiday season.   Since the inception of the program, Pancho Claus and his friends at the American G. I. Forum estimates they have distributed over 4,500 food baskets to local families and distributed over individually wrapped toys to over 15,500 children in San Antonio. 

The Mayor of San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg signed a City Proclamation proclaiming December 16-21, 2019 to be “Pancho Claus Week”.  In doing so the mayor urged “…all citizens to recognize and support the efforts of the American GI Forum and the Pancho Claus Christmas Program for their outstanding contribution in providing a joyous and memorable holiday season for so many families”.   

The Pancho Claus Christmas Program involves the community, selecting community-based organizations, churches, schools of governmental entities to help identify needy families.  These organizations help with contributions or by conducting fundraising and toy drive events.  In this regard, the Committee of the Pancho Claus Christmas Program wish to thank: 

  • Jerry Garcia and the Challengers for helping to promote the 20the annual Fast Pitch Softball Tournament held in Seguin, Texas this year.  The event resulted in the collection of over 100 toys that included six bikes and two tricycles plus $300 in contributions.   
  • Public Service Golf Association for conducting the 2nd Annual Golf tournament that result in the collection over 25 toys and $550 in contributions.  If you didn.t bring a toy, you had to pay $10.00.
  • Redeemer Presbyterian Church for contributing 85 boxes of food for Pancho Claus Families.  The boxes contained enough food to feed a family of four for a week. 
  • The Christian Hope Center for also contributing 80 sacks of food for the Pancho Claus Families. 

“We can safely say that the 2019 Pancho Claus Christmas Program was a success, said Frank Archuleta,” Commander of the Miguel Hernandez Memorial Chapter. “We hope to have a bigger and better program next year, he added.

Pancho Claus is Santa Claus’s cousin (or primo) from the South Pole.  For over thirty years, Pancho Claus makes his annual journey to San Antonio to help his primo distribute toys to a special group of children who have performed good deeds throughout the year.  Pancho Claus will be present at all the above events.  

The goal of the program is to help the youth of San Antonio to become productive members of our society.  The message Pancho Claus conveys to children is to stay in school, say no to gangs and drugs, and show respect for others and their personal property.   To this end, Pancho Claus promotes the goal of the program as he makes his appearances throughout the metropolitan area.  

Pancho Claus does not have reindeer like Santa Claus. Instead he arrives and travels around the city of San Antonio in a wooden cart pulled by his lead burro named Chuey.  Pancho Claus asks children not to leave him milk and cookies under the Christmas tree.  Instead, he asks that children leave him tamales or tacos.  

For further information, contact: 

Cosme J. Barcelo, Chairman
Pancho Claus Christmas Program
Miguel Hernandez Memorial Chapter
The American G I Forum
c/o 1619 Leander
San Antonio, Texas 78251
210-269-7173


Judge Bob Perkins Honored–
Austin Chapter Hosted its Annual Christmas Awards Dance December 21

American GI Forum of Texas Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas–The Austin Chapter held its annual Christmas Awards Benefit Dance on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at the Wyndham Garden Inn Hotel, 3401 N. IH-35 in Austin, Texas. Chapter Commander Armando Longoria and members welcomed attendees to a memorable evening right before Christmas. This year’s annual awards event honored retired Judge Bob Perkins for his many years of work for the Central Texas community with a Community Award. Perkins was also named as an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Texas AGIF and was presented with a Garrison hat and an American GI Forum Pin. Two Austin Chapter members also received awards for their work and dedication to Veterans and their families and our community. 

Judge Bob Perkins most recently undertook the task of properly renaming or changing the spelling of Manchaca Road to its proper name of Menchaca, named in honor of Tejano revolutionary José Antonio Menchaca, who fought in a decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Judge Bob Perkins, who championed the name change as far back as 2011, says he was elated to see the change finally made. "I think it's important in Texas history that we acknowledge all of our heroes – not just the Anglo-Saxons," he said.

He took the opportunity to thank City Councilmembers, County officials, and community Leaders for their help and support during this effort. He also wooed the crowd by performing two of his favorite oldies, “Cuatro Caminos” in Spanish and in English, Elvis Presley’s Jail House Rock.

Other honorees included Past State and Austin Commander Paul Herrera, for his years of service to the AGIF Organization He also served as AGIF Legislative Chair, Chairman of the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP) and sat on the AGIF National Board of Directors.  Also honored was Gloria Elizondo, a hard-working member of the Austin Women’s Chapter and a community activist for her work with the AGIF and the Central Texas Community.

Texas State Commander Ceasar Ruiz, unable to attend, asked that Mrs. Margaret “Margie” Mercado, president of Siempre Amigos Club be presented with a Special Award for her many years of Service helping Austin Area High School Graduates with scholarships. For decades, Siempre Amigos hosted an Annual Fund-raising Scholarship Christmas Dance as well as other fund-raising events during the year. Her award was presented by AGIF Texas CEO Gil Rodriguez.

The Celebration began at 7:00 pm with a reception with hot hors d'oeuvres, cash bar cocktails, and lots of comradery. Dancing followed to the music of Danny Lopez y Aventura, a band recently nominated for the best new band award by the Tejano Music Awards.

Commander Armando Longoria reminds us that his Fund-raising effort by the Austin Chapter will once again become an Annual Event. The Austin Chapter hopes to bring more named entertainment to the area during the Holiday Season each year.

If you have any questions, please contact Commander Armando Longoria at: (512) 576-7025 or Gloria Elizondo at (512) 945-5271.


2019 AGIF Austin Chapter Xmas Dance


Austin Chapter Will Host Annual Christmas Awards Dance December 21

American GI Forum of Texas Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas–The Austin Chapter will host its annual Christmas Awards Benefit Dance on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at the Wyndham Garden Inn Hotel, 3401 N. IH-35 in Austin, Texas. Chapter Commander Armando Longoria and his committee are working diligently to assure attendees a memorable evening during the Holiday Season. This year’s annual awards event will be honoring retired Judge Bob Perkins for his many years of work for the community with a special award. Two Austin Chapter members will also receive awards for their work and dedication to Veterans and their families and our community.

Judge Bob Perkins recently undertook the task of properly renaming or changing the spelling of Manchaca Road to its proper name of Menchaca, named in honor of Tejano revolutionary José Antonio Menchaca, who fought in a decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Judge Bob Perkins, who championed the name change as far back as 2011, says he was elated to see the change finally made.

"I think it's important in Texas history that we acknowledge all of our heroes – not just the Anglo-Saxons," he said.

Others being Honored include Past State and Austin Commander Paul Herrera for his years of service to the AGIF Organization and Gloria Elizondo, a hard-working member of the Austin Women’s Chapter and a community activist will also be honored. Present Texas State Commander and Austin Chapter member Ceasar Ruiz will be the evening’s M.C.

The Celebration begins at 7:00 pm with a reception with plenty of hot hors d'oeuvres, cash bar cocktails, plenty of comradery. Dancing follows to the music of Danny Lopez y Aventura, a band recently nominated for the best new band award by the Tejano Music Awards.

The tickets are now on sale for 35.00 per person. Send a check or money order to American GI Forum of Austin to 330 Pond View Pass, Buda, Texas 78610. Cut-off date for mailing tickets is December 15, 2019. In order to have an accurate and provide good food service you may also reserve tickets and pay at the door. Cash or checks will be accepted for tickets at the door. There will be a door prize for a lucky ticket holder and tickets for raffles during the breaks.

For those wishing to spend the night or to continue the evening, 20 Rooms have been blocked and are available at $69.00 per night on first-come-first-served until Dec 1, 2019 or until they’re sold-out so please reserve your rooms now by calling the Hotel number 512 448-2444 or 512 443-4208. Be sure and mention the American GI Forum Christmas Dance Event.

If you have any questions, please contact Commander Armando Longoria at: (512) 576-7025 or Gloria Elizondo at (512) 945-5271. Please plan to attend.


Annual Christmas Awards Dance



Pancho Claus is Coming to Town!
Texas AGIF Chapters Celebrate the Christmas Season

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas –It’s the season for giving again and Texas Chapters are in the giving celebration mode. Some have already had events others are yet to have their Christmas Holidays Festivities. It is and will continue to be a busy season for all of us. We appreciate your invitations, but the State Commander and other state officers regretfully have been unable to attend many out-of-town activities. Mario Perales, State Vice Commander and National Commander Romo have attended some. We thank all of you for thinking of us and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We proudly report on some of the Chapters that have had and are having celebrations that give away gifts and toys and food for the less fortunate families in their communities. Here are some of the Chapter’s that have reported their scheduled activities to us.

The San Antonio Miguel Hernandez Chapter’s Pancho Claus is busy as always. He showed up at the “Annual Jaime P. Martinez Thanksgiving in the Barrio” event held at Emma Frey Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas with Little Joe y La Familia and with HEB as a sponsor. The kids enjoyed the day with a live music and visiting with Santa’s cousin from South of the Border. The same San Antonio Chapter will be having its annual Pancho Clause toys and meals event at the San Antonio Circus Bingo Hall on Saturday December 21. Larry Romo, National Commander of the American GI Forum and other dignithttp://www.agiftx.com/San.Antonio2.jpgaries such as Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and recording artists, and Grammy Award winners, Little Joe, of Little Joe and La Familia and Joe Posada. 

The Robstown, Beatrice T. Perez Women’s Chapter is having their Turkey giveaway on Monday December 23rd in Corpus Christi; Del Rio had a turkey give away for Thanksgiving and had a Christmas meal for the community at their clubhouse last week.

Other Chapters celebrated or are celebrating with Christmas Parties or Dances. San Marcos and Seguin had their Christmas Party and Installation of officers last Friday December 13. The Austin Chapter is having their Christmas Benefit and Awards Dance this Saturday, December 21 at 7:pm at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Austin Texas with Ruvben Lopez y Aventura.

No matter how you celebrate please let us know and send us photos and information on your events. Other chapters like to hear about all state activities.

State Commander Ceasar Ruiz, the State Office and the Board of directors want all of you to enjoy the season, stay safe and we wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


San Antonio Miguel Hernandez Commander Appointed Army Reserve Ambassador to Texas

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc.: AUSTIN, Texas – Lieutenant General, Charles D. Luckey, Chief, Army Reserve appointed Frank J. Archuleta to serve a three-year term for the State Texas, and the 63rd Readiness Division. His appointment began on November 30, 2018.

As an Army Reserve Ambassador, Archuleta will promote the goals and objectives of the Army Reserve by telling the Army Reserve story to the American people via local civic groups and organizations and to state and local elected officials. He will be responsible for providing a variety of briefings to convey the capabilities, skills and value the Army Reserve brings to communities.

Archuleta will also meet with other Army Reserve ambassadors twice yearly to review programs and progress and provide direct feedback to Chief of Army Reserve (CAR).

Archuleta, has served both the  Army and Navy, and currently serves an array of organizations, to include: Commander of the Miguel Hernandez Jr. Chapter of the American GI Forum, Life-Member of the Veterans of Foreign War, Legislator on the Texas Silver-Hair Legislature, and Windcrest City Council. As a retired Army Guard Reserve (AGR) Lieutenant Colonel, he is afforded opportunities to interact with numerous community leaders, business leaders, educators and elected officials throughout Texas.

The Army Reserve's mission is to provide trained, equipped, and ready soldiers and cohesive units to meet the global requirements across the full spectrum of operations. The Army Reserve is a key element in The Army multi-component unit force, training with Active and National Guard units to ensure all three components work as a fully integrated team.


San Antonio Miguel Hernandez Memorial Chapter 2018 Pancho Claus Christmas Program Continues. . . 

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: SAN ANTONIO,Texas – For more than  decade the the San Antonio Miguel Hernandez Memorial Chapter of the American GI Forum of Texs,d Inc. has sponsored the Pancho Clause Christmas Program. During this past 2018 Christmas season, the Miguel Hernandez Memorial Chapter distributed turkeys with all the trimmings to over 110 families on Saturday, December 15, 2018. An individually gifted wrapped toy was also given to every child in these families. Distribution of the turkeys, food baskets and toys took place at the Circus Play-Mor Bingo Hall located at 919 S. Pleasanton, San Antonio, Texas.

With community support, the Pancho Claus Christmas Program has helped to bring the true spirit of Christmas to many deserving families and children who have a far from an ideal holiday season. Since the inception of the program, Pancho Claus and his friends at the American GI Forum estimates they have distributed over 4,500 food baskets to local families and distributed over individually wrapped toys to over 15,500 children in San Antonio.

The Mayor of San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the Mayor of Windcrest, Mayor Dan Reese, both signed City Proclamations proclaiming December 9-15, 2018 to be “Pancho Claus Week”.  In doing so the mayors urged “…all citizens to recognize and support the efforts of the American GI Forum and the Pancho Claus Christmas Program for their outstanding contribution in providing a joyous and memorable holiday season for so many families”.   

Below is a listing of Special Events were note newsworthy and  provided photo opportunities for the Pancho Claus character with families and children and volunteers. 

SPECIAL EVENT # 1: Pancho Claus and his helpers wrap toys for the children of deserving families. Pancho Claus invites volunteers to help wrap gifts. Also, persons interested in donating gifts may do so at this time.                                        

WHEN:     Friday, December 14, 2018
WHERE:   Gonzaba Event Center,
                933 Pleasanton Rd., Suite 110
                San Antonio, Texas 
78237
TIME:       Between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm

SPECIAL EVENT # 2: Pancho Claus and his volunteer helpers distributed food baskets to over 110 families and toys to each child in the family. Children and their families and guests will be able to take a photo with Pancho Claus free of charge.

WHEN:    Saturday, December 15, 2018
WHERE:  Circus Play-Mor Bingo Hall
               919 S. Pleasanton, San Antonio, Texas.   
TIME:      Between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.

Brief Background on the Pancho Clause Christmas Program

The Pancho Claus Christmas Program involves the community by selecting community-based organizations, churches, schools of governmental entities to help identify needy families. These organizations select families from within their own client or target populations service areas.   

Pancho Claus is Santa Claus’s cousin (or primo) from the South Pole.  For over the past thirty years, Pancho Claus makes his annual journey to San Antonio to help his primo distribute toys to a special group of children who have performed good deeds throughout the year. Pancho Claus will be present at all the above events. 

The goal of the program is to help the youth of San Antonio to become productive members of our society.  The message Pancho Claus conveys to children is to stay in school, say no to gangs and drugs, and show respect for others and their personal property. To this end, Pancho Claus promotes the goal of the program as he makes his appearances throughout the metropolitan area. 

Pancho Claus does not have reindeer like Santa Claus. Instead he arrives and travels around the city of San Antonio in a wooden cart pulled by his lead burro named Chuey.  Pancho Claus asks children not to leave him milk and cookies under the Christmas tree.  Instead, he asks that children leave him tamales or tacos. 

EDITORS NOTE: Join us in congratulating Commander Archuleta, past commanders and the SAMHM Chapter on the continued successful annual program.


 Pancho Claus Christmas Program

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