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Celebrating Victoria's Hispanic heritage

By BY KELDY ORTIZ - KORTIZ@VICAD.COM
Oct. 25, 2012 at 5:25 a.m.
Updated Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:26 a.m.

Essie Gonzales, 58, of Victoria is being given an award for her work in the community. "Anytime we can encourage education, that's important. And not losing sight of where we came from, regardless of our origin." she said.

When asked about the variety of volunteer work Essie Gonzales performs in Victoria, she provides a laundry list of activities. She loves helping Hispanics and others as well.

She doesn't do it for any other reason other than she wants to help those in need.

"What you put in is what you get," said Gonzales. "It's nice to help in the community."

On Friday, Gonzales and two others will be honored during a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration sponsored by Revista de Victoria and other area sponsors.

"It's appropriate that the community recognizes them," said Emett Alvarez, owner and publisher of Revista. "These folks are not seeking the limelight."

One of eight children, Gonzales, who has worked at Bank of America for 38 years, was used to helping out in the family. As a mother of three children, she has made sure her daughters - Delia, Lora and Amanda - become college educated women.

Serving in a variety of positions, and currently treasurer of the Victoria chapter in the League of Women Voters of Texas, she plays a role in helping women understand government and helping women register to vote.

"We want to put out the facts," said Gonzales about her participation in the League. "We want people to make informed decisions."

While involved with that, Gonzales also participated in the then-Victoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. There, she helped support local Hispanic-owned businesses.

Kathy Hunt, president of the Victoria chapter for the League of Women Voters of Texas, praised Gonzales.

"Essie is a very hard working, humble servant. She never wants recognition for the work she does," Hunt said. "It's a well-deserved honor. Between the League of Women Voters and others, it has been a well-deserved recognition."

Gonzales' commitment to the various organizations is what her friend, Maria Moreno, cites when introducing her friend to others.

"From what I understand, I have only three minutes to speak. You can't get everything in," said Moreno about giving a speech about Gonzales. "She cares a great deal for helping."

Gonzales said she could not take credit for all the work she has done.

"It's nice to be recognized but just helping is not what I look for," she said. "It's nice to help in the community. I love people."

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