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Hispanic leaders recognized for community service

By ErinPradia
Sept. 28, 2011 at 4:28 a.m.

Frank Torres

Michael Torres distinctly recalls an act of service from a car ride home with his father, Frank Torres.

Ten-year-old Michael was worn out after a long day at school followed by baseball practice, and he was confused when his father suddenly turned the car around.

"What are you doing, Dad?" he asked his father.

"I saw a man weed eating without eye protection," his father replied.

Frank Torres stopped and gave the stranger a pair of protective eye goggles he had in his glove compartment.

"You only have one set of eyes. You need to take care of them," Frank Torres had told the man.

This was not an isolated act of benevolence Michael Torres recalled.

"If he had something he could share, he would," said Michael Torres, now 42, "from a Bible to safety glasses."

Michael Torres asked his father to be his best man in his wedding.

"He made me and my siblings the people we are today," Michael Torres said.

Frank Torres said he owes his passion for community service to a vision passed down from his grandfather through his father.

His mother would tell him about his grandfather's service to the community, and his aunts showed him membership cards to the community service organization founded by his grandfather. Torres said his father was always giving a hand to everyone around him, and he wanted to teach his children to be the same way.

"It makes me feel at home when I extend a hand and help someone else," Torres said. "It just feels good."

Torres worked as a master mechanic at Dupont Chemical Plant for 29 years.

When Torres first relocated to Victoria from Corpus Christi in 1971, he responded to an ad he saw in the newspaper requesting an assistant boxing coach at the Boys and Girls Club.

With a history of boxing in high school, Torres brought those skills to the Boys and Girls Club as an assistant boxing coach. Later, Torres was asked to serve on the board of the Boys and Girl's club, where he served for 24 years. Torres has served as both the vice president and the president of the board.

He also helped develop sports teams near Red Wood Apartments.

Torres said he would like to encourage young people to get an education and attend church. He also advises young people to become adults before they become parents.

"In the long run, it's the best situation for everyone," Torres said.

In his experience working with youth, Torres said he has seen problems perpetuated through generations based on a few bad decisions early on.

Michael Torres said he is very proud to have his father among the three retired professionals honored at the Revista de Victoria dinner celebrating Hispanic Heritage month.

"He is always giving," said Michael Torres. "And he doesn't expect anything in return."

The dinner, held at the Golden Gecko, is the third local celebration of Hispanic heritage presented by Revista de Victoria.

"It is a monthlong celebration that centers around Dieciséis de Septiembre," said Emett Alvarez, part owner of Revista de Victoria. "One way we celebrate is by honoring influential people across the community. It is our attempt to say, 'Thank you' for their service."

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