FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2006
Thanksgiving will seem a little sad as I reflect on the loss of my Father this year, as well as a few other family members and close friends. However, I still have much to be thankful for, and this Thanksgiving Day I will reflect joyously on my many blessings, including the generous contributions of so many to my Annual Scholarship Fund for local high school students.
The Eddie Lucio Scholarship Fund idea originated at a Rio Grande Valley Vehicle Park Association meeting back in 1990, when I was still a member of the Texas House of Representatives. I was invited to address a group of RV Park residents. Those kind folks offered to raise money to help my campaign efforts. I suggested that they go ahead and raise the money, but that the funds be used for scholarships. They willingly accepted the challenge and for a few years, they raised money and distributed the checks to deserving students. Despite their remarkable success, illness among some forced them to relinquish the fundraising entirely to me. I gladly accepted and will forever be thankful to these men and women from our northern states. I credit them for starting the momentum that led to a non-profit educational organization in South Texas, which sponsors a very popular, well-supported event in our community every year.
The Texas Legends Golf Classic, the annual tournament that draws a great portion of the scholarship proceeds, is held in conjunction with the fundraising. These functions have featured a celebrity for the past six years and will continue to do so.
The list of our Golf Classic Legends includes: Tejano Superstar Ruben Ramos, former Texas Longhorn Coach Daryl Royal, actor Burton "Bubba" Gilliam, and former Dallas Cowboy Superbowl Champions Robert Newhouse, Walt Garrison and Tom Rafferty, this year's Legend.
The generosity of these "superstars" has helped us raise $30,000 yearly, allowing us to award scholarships to more students from throughout my Senatorial District 27, which now encompasses Cameron, part of Hidalgo, Kenedy, Kleberg and Willacy counties. To date, since the fundraising began, we have collected over $400,000. Kudos is also extended this year to the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College Partnership for matching our scholarships, thus giving potential recipients more motivation towards obtaining their diplomas and planning for more promising careers.
An eligible boy and a girl from every high school in my district each receive a $500 scholarship, and this year more than 60 students qualified.
Thanking the pioneers of this effort and our Texas Legends goes without question. But many more contribute to this cause. We have countless supporters from South Texas and beyond who give generously.
I would be remiss if I did not express deep gratitude to the school counselors who work closely with us in reviewing scholarship applications, as well as to the outstanding men and women who comprise the Scholarship Fund Board. These individuals volunteer their time to advance this cause and to help streamline the selection of recipients. The many golfers loyal to this effort are to be commended as well. I am also thankful to our local media for the vital role they play in helping promote this event. And of course, I am so grateful for the wonderful students who work hard to merit these scholarships, as well as for the teachers who inspire them. Many of our recipients from earlier years have graduated, are engaged in the professions they pursued and contribute to their communities and to this Fund.
So on Thanksgiving, as I give thanks for my family, friends, health and this wonderful country, and joyously reflect on the life of my hero, my legend, my Dad, I will be very grateful for the enormous support for the Eddie Lucio Scholarship Fund.
I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to the great people of South Texas and to our friends from outside this area who share in our goals to improve education and the quality of life here at home.
As always, if you have any input or questions regarding these or other matters, please do not hesitate to contact Doris Sanchez, my press secretary, 512-463-0385.