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Alfredo Martínez, Sr., 81, whose one of two sons is Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, was laid to rest on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at Highland Memorial Park in Weslaco. Alfredo Martínez, Sr. passed away on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

FEATURED: Alfredo Martínez, Sr., 81, whose one of two sons is Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, was laid to rest on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at Highland Memorial Park in Weslaco. Alfredo Martínez, Sr. passed away on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Photograph Courtesy REP. ARMANDO MARTÍNEZ FACEBOOK

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“Heaven gained a loving angel,” Rep. Martínez pays tribute to his father, Alfredo Martínez, Sr., 81, who passed away on Thursday, April 28, 2022

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
[email protected]

Alfredo Martínez, Sr., 81, whose one of two sons is Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, was laid to rest on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at Highland Memorial Park in Weslaco.

Alfredo Martínez, Sr. passed away on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

“Heaven gained a loving angel with the passing of my dad, Alfredo Martínez, Sr.,” Rep. Martínez stated on his lawmaker’s Facebook. “Our family appreciates all your prayers, phone calls, and kind messages of support.”

Two of Rep. Martínez’ state legislative colleagues offered their moral support following news of his father’s death.·

“My condolences to State Representative Armando Martínez on the passing of his father,” said Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen. “Mr. Alfredo Martinez, Sr. was a lifelong resident of the Rio Grande Valley. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Esmeralda, their family and loved ones. Alfredo Martínez, Sr. will be missed by many. May he Rest in Peace and be in Heaven.”

Hinojosa knows well the Martínez family, having served in the House of Representatives during the late 1980s with Rep. Renato Cuellar, D-Weslaco (1927-2001), who was an uncle of Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez.

Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, also has close ties with the Alfredo Martinez, Sr. families.

“My deepest condolences to Representative Armando “Mando” Martínez on the passing of his father, Alfredo Martínez, Sr.,” said Canales, the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation, of which Rep. Martínez is a senior member. “Please keep his wife, Esmeralda, and children, Rebecca, Alfredo, and Mando in your prayers. Alfredo will be deeply missed by his family and friends. May he Rest in Peace.”

Alfredo Martínez, Sr. Obituary

WESLACO – A full and generous life drew to a close with the passing of Alfredo Martínez, Sr. on Thursday, April 28, 2022 at the age of 81.

The son of Jesus Martínez and Mercedes Gonzalez, Alfredo was born on July 11, 1940 and raised in Mercedes, Texas.

Alfredo met Esmeralda in the spring of 1963 and they attended the junior-senior prom together; they were joined in matrimony the following year.

After graduating from Mercedes High school Alfredo studied at Pan American College in Edinburg.

Alfredo started his career in sales with Lacks Furniture and Montgomery Ward, also holding a second job at TexSun Company in Weslaco. After the peso devaluation he left sales and was employed by Church’s Fried Chicken where he retired after more than 20 years of employment as a general manager.

He was later hired by Weslaco Independent School District and enjoyed a career and retired once again to spend time with his grandchildren.

As a dedicated family man, Alfredo never missed an event where his children and grandchildren participated.

He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing and spending time with his family.

His companion was his Shih Tzu Chanel, who never left his side.

He attended San Martínde Porres Catholic Church in Weslaco with his wife Esmeralda.

Alfredo is survived by his spouse, Esmeralda C. Martínez, daughter Rebecca Martínez, son Alfredo Martínez, Jr. (Yessica), son Armando A. Martínez (Marisa) and four grandchildren – Kuentin, Alexa, Madison and Matthew.

Although deeply missed, memories of his character and dedication to his loved ones remain to comfort those he leaves behind.

Pallbearers were Gilbert Cárdenas, Jr., Trae Cárdenas, Armando Cárdenas, Jaime Calzada, Jorge Cárdenas, and JR Martínez.

Honorary Pallbearers were Rodolfo Guerrero, MD, Héctor Amaya, MD, and John Taylor.

Visitation was held on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at McCaleb Funeral Home from 10 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with a rosary held at 7 pm.

Funeral Mass was celebrated on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at 10 a.m. at San Martín de Porres Catholic Church in Weslaco, followed by burial at Highland Memorial Park.

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE TO CELEBRATE CLASS OF 2022 WITH CEREMONY AT REGION ONE

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine Class of 2022 will mark its commencement ceremony Saturday, May 7, 2022, at the Region One Education Service Center in Edinburg.

The ceremony starts at 2 p.m., offering UTRGV’s medical graduates and their families the opportunity to attend graduation in a hybrid format – in-person and live-streamed through Facebook and YouTube – to honor the achievements of 51 medical students.

Serving as the keynote speaker is Dr. Alma Rodriguez, M.D., M.A.C.P., Professor of Medicine for the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma in the Division of Cancer Medicine and Medical Director for M.D. Anderson Survivorship Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and the Vice President of Medical Affairs and Physician-in-Chief for MD Anderson.

She has published articles, authored book chapters, and co-edited books on the treatment of lymphomas, cancer outcomes and healthcare for cancer survivors. Rodríguez was named Master Member of the American College of Physicians in 2017 and has served on the Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Ethics Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the Survivorship and Education Committees of ASCO.

Currently, Rodríguez is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Survivorship Guidelines Workgroup. She is a South Texas native, from Robstown, with strong ties to her community.

Dr. Michael B. Hocker, Dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and Senior Vice President for UT Health RGV, said medical school graduation is a momentous accomplishment for aspiring medical professionals, and he is proud of everyone’s hard work and dedication.

“Class of 2022, you bring so much pride to our UTRGV School of Medicine,” he said. “You are a testament of our promise to train diverse and talented physician scientists for the benefit of the Rio Grande Valley, Texas and the nation.”

This will be Hocker’s first commencement as the UTRGV School of Medicine dean.

“Your Class of 2022 is a great representation of UTRGV’s endeavors in providing quality healthcare, research and training opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley,” Hocker said. “A big congratulations to not only you, but to all of your friends, family and support systems who have helped you all the way through this challenging journey.”

Fourth-year UTRGV medical student Areeb Masood, who graduates Saturday, May 7, 2022, recently matched into internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He said he is thankful to have been part of UTRGV School of Medicine and is excited for his medical career.

“UTRGV gave me an opportunity. Attending a brand-new medical school allowed me to live outside my comfort zone,” Masood said. “It gave me the space to grow immensely, in ways I truly only appreciate in hindsight after four years.”

For more information on the School of Medicine’s Class of 2022 commencement ceremony, visit the UTRGV SOM Commencement FAQ page.

For additional questions regarding the UTRGV School of Medicine Commencement, please contact SOM Registrar Services at [email protected] (please include “SOM Commencement” in the email subject line).

DR. ROBERT H. VELA, JR., AN ALUMNUS OF A&M-KINGSVILLE, NAMED SOLE FINALIST TO LEAD ALMA MATER

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents have named Dr. Robert H. Vela, Jr. as the sole finalist for the position of President of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Vela, who is currently President of San Antonio College, is a 1994 graduate of Texas A&M University-Kingsville and later received graduate degrees from that institution.

He has a lengthy academic career that included leadership roles at Coastal Bend College, A&M-Kingsville, and San Jacinto College before he joined San Antonio College in 2008 as Dean of Student Affairs. He became President in 2014.

He is also President of the National Community College Hispanic Council and served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges.

Under Vela’s leadership, San Antonio College was the 2021 Aspen Prize Winner for Community College Excellence and Vela was named a Distinguished Alumni of Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2015.

On Thursday, April 25, 2022, Chancellor John Sharp recommended Vela as sole finalist and the Board approved. Under state law, regents name a finalist for at least 21 days before making the appointment at a subsequent meeting.

“Dr. Vela knows and loves Texas A&M University-Kingsville. It will be a sweet homecoming,” said Sharp. “With his vast experience, I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes for his alma mater.”

Vela responded to Thursday’s vote: “I want to thank Chancellor Sharp, Chairman Leach and the entire Board of Regents for this amazing opportunity to lead one of the finest institutions. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and community to achieve great things.”

Vela succeeds Dr. Mark Hussey, who resigned in December to return to Texas A&M University where he has held multiple leadership roles. Hussey is serving as Acting Vice Chancellor and Dean of Agriculture until that position is filled. At that time, Hussey will become director of the Borlaug Institute.

About The Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $9.6 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 24 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.

INNOVATORS IN AGING AWARD RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED BY THE TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 announced the recipients of the 2021 Innovators in Aging award.

The award recognizes organizations and people who have made positive impacts on the lives of older adults in Texas.

According to census data projections, there are approximately 9.2 million Texans age 50 and older. This population is expected to increase to 11.1 million people by 2030.

As the aging population in Texas quickly grows, so does the need for enhanced efforts to help older adults age and live well.

The Innovators in Aging awards program, now in its fourth year, highlights recipients from across the state for developing and carrying out innovative ideas that meet the needs of older adults.

“It is important that we celebrate the contributions of those working to improve the lives of older Texans,” said HHSC Aging Services Coordination Director Holly Riley. “We hope these efforts will encourage others to take bold, innovative actions to support this important population.”

The 2021 Innovators in Aging award recipients are:

Carissa Nair

The high school student from Houston created a comprehensive statistical survey to determine how the pandemic impacted residents of long-term care facilities.

Based on the survey results, she developed a resource with best practices on mood-elevation techniques to help older adults cope during the pandemic. She also created and delivered 50 mental wellness kits that contained activities for residents, including journals and scrapbooking materials.

Austin Speech Labs

Austin Speech Labs provides affordable speech therapy services to stroke survivors who are uninsured or have exhausted their insurance benefits. To keep fees low, the program used volunteers and graduate students who, under the supervision of licensed therapists, provide thousands of therapy hours each year.

Clients can receive therapy in the office or from their home via teletherapy. The program also offers support services for caregivers, including respite and support groups.

Alamo Area Council of Governments

The AACOG implemented a comprehensive communications campaign to encourage older adults in the San Antonio area to get COVID-19 vaccinations.

The 12-week campaign included 30-second PSA videos that featured local leaders showing their Texas pride by getting vaccinated.

AACOG also created English and Spanish ads for social media, TV, radio and newspapers in San Antonio and surrounding areas.

In 11 of the 12 targeted counties for the PSAs, more than 70 percent of residents age 65 and older received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. All recipients of the Innovators in Aging award were nominated by people in their communities.

More information about the award is available on the Innovators in Aging webpage.

To learn about programs and services for older adults, Texas residents can call 2-1-1.

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Saira Cabrera, Laylan Copelin, and Ty Bishop contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).

Titans of the Texas Legislature