Cmdr Martinez: HAPPY THANKSGIVING
Let’s thank and remember those who have served- and still serve – our Nation
AGIF: AUSTIN, Texas – So, many times every day during breakfast, lunch or dinner we rush to pray and give thanks for the meal that we are about to receive. But are we really saying, quick let us finish before the meal gets cold, or my lunch hour will end soon. During Thanksgiving we quickly rush and finish the prayer and say, “Now please pass the corn bread dressing, and the cranberry… I have waited all year for this turkey.”
On Thanksgiving day let us take a few minutes more to REALLY give Thanks to what we are really Thankful for: Our Lord, a cozy bed, a house, our family, our health, our Friends, our FREEDOM and our Americans that are away from their families so that we can cherish this FREEDOM. I as well as other veterans once missed Thanksgiving(s) with their families and friends just to enjoy it in later years. And let us not forget our troops that never returned and our troops that have since then left us. Right now, I am so thankful to be here with all that have touched me more than they’ll ever know. Bless this Thanksgiving that has been provided by our LORD and bless each one invited.
Happy Thanksgiving, American GI Forum Family,
From your State Commander and your State Officers
Cmdr Martinez: VETERANS DAY OBSERVANCE
Let’s remember those who have served- and still serve – our Nation
Veterans Day, November 11, falls on a Monday this year. Though most Government offices and some businesses will be closed, but make no mistake – Veterans Day is not simply a day when these offices are closed.
Some may confuse Memorial Day and Veteran Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of our country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.
While those who died are also remembered at this time, Veterans Day is designed to thank and honor ALL who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their contributions. Those who served – not only those that died – have made great sacrifices to keep our NATION safe.
Some of you will spend the day visiting friends or family at the Veteran’s cemetery, having a meal with your military colleagues, marching in a Veterans Day parade, or simply enjoying the day with their loved ones. Whatever it may be, you deserve it!
I’m pleased that I am a member of the BEST Veteran’s organization in the World, The American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Veterans in the American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. have kept our NATION strong.
VETERANS - Thank you for your SERVICE to the American people. I’m proud to be one among you.
Commander’s Report on Seguin, Board Meeting, October 2013--2014 State Conference, moved to Seguin
Seguin, Texas– With all the business that we had to conduct, overall, our Seguin Board of Directors meeting flowed well. THANK YOU, Executive Board, the Region Commanders and Chairs and the other outstanding participants that accounted for excellent attendance. Seguin Chapter hosting committee, everything from your hospitality, to your fine breakfast and refreshments and for an outstanding Barbeque chicken and sausage luncheon. Everybody present participated and a full agenda was completed satisfactorily.
One of the items that I want to report on is that the 2014 Conference scheduled for El Paso, Texas and sponsored by Paso del Norte chapters has been postponed until 2015. Because of the National Conference being held in San Antonio, the travel concerns mounted to such that it would have put a strain in many of our members, most of them in central and east Texas to travel so far to both Conferences within a short month’s period.
Four resolutions were present and passed. A resolution proposing the change with agreements from Paso Del Norte and the Tarrant County Chapters, cleared the way for the Seguin to bid successfully for the Conference next year. Seguin is centrally located and had recently hosted a very successful conference. Seguin is a small community, but has a very hard working membership and the entire Seguin community has rallied behind the Chapter.
The Tarrant County Chapter (Ft. Worth) agreed to allow Paso del Norte to take the 2015 slot providing that they have first bid on the 2016 conference. The move was met with much support for all concerned and the resolution passed unanimously.
Another resolution was for the American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. to join other organizations and legislators in support of a bid by the Borinqueneers Congressional God Medal Alliance's quest to get the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment known as the Borinqueneers the Congressional Gold Medal for their heroics during WWI and WWII. Texas State Vice Commander Ceasar Ruiz, noting that Texas would become the first AGIF state to support the effort independent of the National Organization, introduced the resolution.
Two other resolutions referred to changes in our State Constitution. Even thought passed, they will remain work in progress.
Our Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Gil Rodriguez, from our State office reported that we are sound financially and fiscally and presented a Budget for the 2013-14 year that was passed by the Budget Committee and ratified by the State Board. He also reported on the State of our State and we are in great condition. Gil was nominated as our Executive Secretary for the ensuing year. Gil, thanks for all the work that you and your assistant, Lupe, do on a daily basis. I REALLY appreciate your hard, dedicated, and excellent work. KEEP IT UP!!
I am looking forward to be at our next stated meeting that will be held in Rockport, Texas.
As a REMINDER, we must wholeheartedly support our National Organization! HOW?? By attending and participating in all of their events. In March the National Mid-year Conference will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada and hosted by our Hispanic Education Fund (HEF). We also have many events going on the remainder of the year. We have a Stand-down coordinated by the National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP) in San Antonio on the 8th of November, celebrations of Veterans Day parades in various cities and communities including our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. On Veterans Day, I will be in Port Lavaca chapter to address their attendees as their keynote speaker. Let’s not forget to think of and include our military members and families in our thoughts and prayers during the upcoming holidays. They are the reason why our Freedom continues.
Commander’s Message, October 2013
As we approach the Fall season, our October Board of Directors’ meeting is just around the corner. It will be held in Seguin on October 19. Visit our Website for information on Hotel and meeting location. A notice also went out from our State office with all information necessary for the meeting. Also included are the forms for the 2014 dues and assessments. We hope to have good attendance as we have a full agenda that has been prepared and will be distributed to all attendees.
South Texas has just experienced for the first time the effects of three continuous hurricanes that left much devastation to our Southern neighbors in Mexico. Let us keep them in our thoughts and prayers and also as the depressions enter Texas keep our fellow Forumeers and women and Texans safe.
You should know by now that we do have a new National Commander from the state of Colorado, Luis Contes. And for the second time in American GI Forum history husband and wife, Patsy Contes, will serve as our National Chairwoman. I and all of Texas wish them well, and we will open our doors for any assistance.
In July, I and 24 other Texas delegates attended the National American GI Forum Convention in Denver Colorado and were very impressed with the outstanding hospitality that the Denver National Convention committee provided. Other National Officers elected were as follow: National Vice Commander Carlos Rivera; National Secretary John Narvarette; National Treasurer Ernesto Montoya; National Sargent of Arms Ceasar Ruiz; National Vice Chairwoman Angela Lopez; National Women Secretary Kathy Clenin; National Women Treasurer Betty Manchego; and National Youth Stephanie Lefthand. We applaud all their efforts and wish them well for the ensuing year.
In August, we lost a remarkable Lucian Adams chapter – Houston member and founder, Frank Orozco. Frank Orozco and John Aleman were the Founders of the AGIF Lucian Adams Chapter. Frank, John, and Judge Abe Ramirez, who also passed away recently, founded the Latino Learning Center, a center that teaches electrical skills, house buying techniques, and a senior citizen service center. I, and members of the State Board, and AGiF Texas members attended the memorial service that was held in Houston and traveled to San Antonio for the funeral service. Frank was a WWII veteran and flew 24 bomb missions over Germany. He will be missed. I received an email that Abe Ramirez passed last week with pending arrangements scheduled for next week. Please keep every American GI Forum chapters and Women Chapter members in thought and prayers for all that have lost recent loved ones.
In September, Gil and I briefly met with NVOP Carlos Martinez in San Antonio, then, traveled to Del Rio to attend a monthly stated meeting with the Del Rio Chapter. Did you read in our WEB SITE where they contributed $13,000 in scholarships to deserving students? They also are sponsoring a boxing gym at their chapter for after school boxing activities for students. Commander Jose Martinez gave us a tour of his chapter and all the great improvements that the members have done. They are doing great things in the interest of Veterans and American GI Forum.
I was honored to give the invocation, Official Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, at the 45th Annual Houston Fiesta Patrias Awards Breakfast for the Distinguished Hispanic Award for the year. Mr. Carlos Rodriguez, a Music teacher for many years, was this year’s recipient. Some previous distinguished Hispanic honorees include, Leonel Castillo, Judge Abraham Ramirez, Ben Reyes, Frank Orozco, State Senator Mario Gallegos, Jr., Johnny Mata, Ninfa Laurenzo, State Representative Rick Noriega, Constable Victor Trevino, Richard Perez, Commissioner Sylvia Garcia (now State Senator Garcia), and Sheriff Adrian Garcia.
Last week I and members of the State Office attended a Gold Mothers program in Corpus Christi for coordinated by the Beatrice Perez Women Chapter. See our WEB SITE for additional information and photos. If you are reading this message, you are logged into our website. It is important that you visit the site at least once a week. The state office is doing a good job of keeping the site up to date with information from the state, chapters and other AGIF news. Also included is information that is important to all veterans and their families. Please pass on the information to members that do not have excess to a computer.
I am looking forward in seeing every Region Commander and the Executive Board and the State of Directors at our meeting later this month in Seguin Texas. We have much to discuss and needing your input for a successful meeting with issues regarding our annual Budget, Bingos, state and national Conferences, and other pressing items. Please plan to attend.
Yours in American GI Forum,
Commander John Martinez