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Texas Commander’s 65th Conference Summary 

“Houston, your conference has moved the pendulum to another level for all conferences,” voiced by Carlos Rivera, American GI Forum National Sargent of Arms during the 65th Texas State Conference held in Houston Texas.

Forumeers, AGIF women, and guests, I could not describe the Houston Conference any better than what Carlos stated above.

On Thursday, we hosted a Job Fair at the Hotel with National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP) that attracted almost 100 Veteran job seekers. Later that night for our early arrivers, Houston Chapter provided Olive Garden Lasagna, garden salad and plenty of socialization for all.

Friday morning our conference opened with the meeting formalities and committee assignments as we moved into our Women and Youth Luncheon and program. Minerva Perez, an award winning Broadcast journalist and former TV News Anchor and now partner of the new multimedia, Latina Voices: Smart talk was the Mistress of Ceremonies.

While waiting for our Keynote Speaker, Minerva shared with us her story of how she became a television News Anchor and her desired to start Latina Voices: Smart Talk. Keynote Speaker Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee from District 18th gave a powerful and inspiring congressional message regarding issues of immigration, the health care act and Veteran bills.

Presenter Johnny Mata, media activist, gave us tips on how to deal with the media. Department of Justice retiree, and now Houston Coalition for Justice Educator Justo Garcia shared his advocacy of  Education for all Children. In the evening, we were entertained with Mariachis before the Banquet. Our Banquet was Emceed by Past National Commander Juan Mireles. 

Congressman Gene Green for his first time ever presented a WWI certificate to the family of Bernardo Bazan Elizondo, a now deceased WWI Texas POW, thanking his daughter and granddaughter for his service. Congressman Green also stated at some later time in the future he will receive his overdue metals.

Congressman Al Green presented us with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition. Our Keynote Banquet speaker, Brigadier General Joe Ramirez, Texas A & M Commandant for Corp of Cadets, enlightened us with factual figures how a school age child has a 33% chance of being incarcerated and what we should do to stop this trend. We danced to the music of the DJ late into the night.

As we move into Saturday morning, we continued with reports from our Executive Session, State and Financial, committee, resolutions, Civil Rights, awards, and others. Former District Judge Josefina Rendon, delivered excellent tips on  mediating and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Past National Commander Antonio Morales was Master of Ceremonies for the NVOP Luncheon. Our own NVOP Luncheon speaker, Yolanda Suarez, Sr. Vice President, NVOP, gave us a snap shot of what Veteran programs presently NVOP is offering and doing to assist Veterans to acclimate back into society. We continued with our General Session and elected Dallas/Fort Worth as our 2015 State Conference site.  

During our Texas Proud Founder’s reception, Emceed by CEO Gil Rodriguez, Thomas Kreneck, author, former Texas A & M Corpus Christi Archives curator gave some personal interaction with our Founder Dr. Hector P. Garcia. 

All previous state officers were re-elected with the exception of the office of Sargent of Arms. Roy Reyes from San Antonio was elected as Sargent of Arms. Formueer for the year was Patricia Soto from San Antonio, Chapter for the year was awarded to El Paso del Norte Chapter, From San Marcos, Connie Ivarra-Espinoza was selected as Woman for the year. Past National Commander Morales administered the swearing oath to Everybody. Roy Reyes performed his karaoke talent with conference singers and the 65th American GI Texas conference ended at the hospitality room.

Sunday morning, the Lucian Adams Chapter officers and committee coordinators met everyone at the Hotel for breakfast and gave their farewells and for a safe travel back home.

If you missed this conference, you missed a lot of camaraderie, interaction, entertainment, business savvy tips, and a great session.

See you in Denver for our National Conference,
John Martinez
Your Texas State Commander