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Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.: District 27
Lucio Masthead Graphic
Press Release
February 25, 2010
Contact: Doris Sanchez, Communications Director

AUSTIN, TX—Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. commends the men and women serving in Baghdad, Iraq for bringing some of their hometown spirit and culture to their military post by holding the first Iraqi Sombrero Festival on Saturday, Feb. 20, to coincide with Charro Days.

"I was thrilled to support our men and women serving their country in Iraq who wanted to bring our great Charro Days experience to their base over 7,000 miles away and feel a little closer to the love and support our community always offers them," said Sen. Lucio. "Also to be commended are Brownsville's generous community leaders and participants for coordinating and shipping the necessary supplies that made the historic event a complete victory."

The idea originated with Sgt. Mark Anthony Lucio from Brownsville, Sen. Lucio's nephew serving with the Army 812th QM Company from Harlingen, who has attended Charro Days for years. Besides alleviating some of his own homesickness for the annual celebration, Sgt. Lucio wanted to boost the morale of his fellow soldiers. Ninety percent of those in his unit are from the lower Rio Grande Valley.

"The event was a HUGE success!! I had a total of 207 that we were able to count," he said in an email to Mr. Roy De Los Santos, Chief Marketing Officer of Sombrero Festival, Ltd., who together with Ms. Connie Hensley, Vice President Corporate Marketing also with Sombrero Festival, helped coordinate the shipments of items.

As did Sen. Lucio, Mr. De los Santos also attributed the success to a joint effort among Sombrero Festival, Charro Days, Inc., the Mr. Amigo Association, Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, Brownsville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Brownsville Elks Lodge #1032 and the American Vietnam Veterans.

Communicating with emails, Mr. De Los Santos wrote to Sgt. Lucio, "Mark, on a personal note, words can hardly express the honor it is to be able to help you with your endeavor. Nor can they adequately express the feeling it stirs in us here at home knowing that at a time, and in a place where you lay your lives on the line, Charro Days and Sombrero Festival are some of the thoughts that are on your minds, and are one of the things that you all long for.

"That we've been able to be a small part of bringing this spirit from home half way around the world to the men and women serving stirs a feeling in a soul that can't be described," added Mr. De Los Santos. "While Charro Days may have begun with the sharing of cultures of two cities, and the embrace of what they had in common, the message is a universal one. It applies to cities, states, countries, and more importantly to mankind as a whole. The sharing of our cultures with one another, and the embrace of our common interests rather than our differences, can yield bonds, prosperity, amity, and benefits we have yet to imagine."

The total list of participants who donated to the Iraqi shipment includes the following:

  • Ralph Cowen (Mr. Amigo Association)
  • Charro Days, Inc.
  • Sombrero Festival, Ltd.
  • Brownsville Economic Development Council
  • American Vietnam Veterans
  • National Hispanic Professional Organization
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Los Escondidos Motorcycle Club
  • Brownsville Elks Lodge #1032
  • Skip Harden, C.H. Harden, Jr. Enterprises
  • Rosendo Escareno, R&G Warehouse Grocers

"The idea that the spirit of what began 73 years ago with Charro Days still burns so strong that our young men and women in the Armed Services are working to bring it to the other side of the globe is inspiring," noted Mr. De Los Santos. "We have seen how this spirit has grown, and now you are its ambassadors as you bring it to another corner of the globe."

Sen. Lucio added that "while we assisted with shipments and support to help these great men and women in uniform hold their Sombrero Festival, they gave us back so much more by extending that same hand of fellowship and friendship that we do to our neighbors here and in Mexico during our annual Charro Days. Viva to the men and women of the 812th QM Company and may God bless them in service to our country!"

Senator photo

Sgt. Mark Anthony Lucio, (second from left) serving with the Army 812th QM company from Harlingen and nephew of state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., is joined by fellow soldiers during the first Iraqi Sombrero Festival he organized in Baghdad held Feb. 20 to coincide with his hometown's annual Charro Days Festival in Brownsville that runs from Feb. 21 to 28 this year. The Iraqi event drew more than 200, with many participants sporting items like t-shirts and sombreros that were donated by several individuals, groups and businesses from the Rio Grande Valley. Coordinating the delivery of items in Brownsville from Sombrero Festival, Ltd., were Chief Marketing Officer Mr. Roy De Los Santos and Vice President of Corporate Marketing Ms. Connie Hensley.

For more information please contact:

Roy De los Santos, Jr., Chief Marketing Officer, Sombrero Festival, Ltd., (956) 371-7221 at

Sgt. Mark Anthony Lucio, USAR 812th Quartermaster Company 812TH QM CO/at