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United Way of South Texas Announces the South Texas Hero of the Year

February 28, 2022
Pictured UW Board Members L-R: Blanca Villalobos, IBC Bank; Gerardo Paz, South Texas FCU; Elvira Alonzo, City of McAllen; Tyler Stone, Rioco Partners; Dr. J. A. Gonzalez, McAllen I.S.D.; Lisa Killion, Forged Technology Solutions; Paola Escalante-Castillo, Frost Bank; Lilly Lopez-Killelea, President of United Way; and Annette Garcia, Region One ESC.

The United Way Board of Directors announced Dr. Jose A. Gonzalez, Superintendent of McAllen I.S.D., and United Way Board Member, as the 2021 South Texas Hero during the Volunteer & Company Awards Event.

The South Texas Hero Award is presented to an individual that demonstrates commitment and leadership in the community through extraordinary engagement in year-round service projects. The award was established in 2008 in honor of Ray Alexander, retired General Manager of KRGV TV 5. He was instrumental in leading and strengthening collaborations between United Way of South Texas and other non-profits. He also played an essential role in establishing the Rio Grande Valley’s “211” Information and Referral program.

Dr. Jose A. Gonzalez is a key player in the success of McAllen I.S.D., his employees and the United Way. He became Superintendent in 2016 and has over 21 years of experience as an educator and leader. Dr. J. A. Gonzalez thrives on developing leaders and building great teams. His dedication to the United Way and the community is commendable.

“What a tremendous honor this is. This is a team effort at McAllen I.S.D., so I hold this award on behalf of everybody.” Dr. J. A. Gonzalez said. “Since I was a little boy, I wanted to do my part to contribute to society and help people, and United Way is a tremendous vehicle to do that. To receive this award is big for me.”

Former South Texas Hero recipients include the following: John Herrera, Magic Valley Electric Co-op; Dr. Marla Guerra, South Texas ISD (retired); Adrian Villarreal, IBC Bank; Lee Jones, AEP Texas; Jeanette Ahlenius, Wayland Baptist University; Steve Ahlenius, McAllen Chamber of Commerce; Joe Vera, III, City of McAllen; Commissioner “Eddie” Cantu, Precinct 2; and H-E-B.

About United Way:

United Way of South Texas invests in programs that address critical services in the areas of Health, Education, Financial Stability, and Safety Net. The organization supports over 21 non-profit agencies in Hidalgo and Starr Counties that serve a minimum of 178,500 local residents annually. Services provided by United Way of South Texas through Partner Agencies include emergency shelter, family violence counseling, character building programs, child victim advocacy, and infant stimulation classes. To learn more, visit www.unitedwayofsotx.org. If you would like to support United Way programs with a monetary donation, you may mail a tax deductible check to United Way of South Texas at P.O. Box 187, McAllen, TX 78505-0187 or pledge online at https://unitedwayofsotx.org/donate-now/. For volunteer opportunities, visit volunteersotx.org.