Memorial Day Message: Our heroes died too soon

by Senator Judith Zaffirini

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it remembers, the men it honors.”

These moving words by President John F. Kennedy also apply to women and reflect perfectly the importance of Memorial Day, which honors those who paid the ultimate price and made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and our freedoms. As we mourn their loss, we always must honor their legacy, their courage, and their patriotism.

As we celebrate our love for our country, let us never forget our fallen heroes. Many of them, especially our first paratroopers, were as young as 16 and 17. Some left behind young spouses they hoped to grow old with, children they never saw and shared dreams they never realized.

Most of them reversed the natural order of society: In times of peace, children typically bury their parents. In times of war, parents too often bury their children.

Our fallen heroes died too soon. We honor them by strengthening our resolve that their legacies live forever and paying tribute to them not only on Memorial Day, but every day. May God bless America!

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI presents a Memorial Day proclamation honoring our fallen heroes to Korean War veteran Ernesto Sanchez. Behind them is a memorial wall listing the names of local service members who died serving our country.

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI presents a Memorial Day proclamation honoring our fallen heroes to Korean War veteran Ernesto Sanchez. Behind them is a memorial wall listing the names of local service members who died serving our country.

Senator Zaffirini Captures 26 Awards in Press Women of Texas 2014 Communications Contest

Organization Promotes First Amendment Rights, Women in Communication

(AUSTIN) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, won 26 awards in the Press Women of Texas (PWT) 2014 Communications Contest for work published in 2013, contest officials announced recently. Her winning entries included 10 first place winners, 6 second place winners, 6 third place winners and 4 honorable mentions.

Interestingly, the senator’s four entries in the speech category won all four awards—from first through honorable mention. Her keynote speech to the Texas Indigent Health Care Association, Stepping into the Future, won first place; her opening speech at the Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference, Closing the Gaps by 2015 and Beyond, won second; her acceptance speech for the Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Butt Award from Mental Health America of Texas, History as a Source of Strength and Hope for the Future, won third; and her remarks honoring University of Texas students from Mexico and Spain visiting the Texas Capitol won an honorable mention.

The senator’s other first place award winners included her ongoing series of communications to constituents about issues related to growth and development in the Eagle Ford Shale, her statement regarding school finance, a news release about her 50,000th consecutive vote and a podcast interview conducted by Andrew Roush of Alcalde magazine.

Senator Zaffirini’s annual newsletter, Senator Judith Zaffirini Reports to the Families of District 21, won three first place awards: one for the overall publication and two for its layout and headlines.

“These awards reflect my deep commitment to communicating effectively with my constituents via a variety of media,” Senator Zaffirini said. “What’s more, I am grateful to Press Women of Texas for championing freedom of speech and freedom of the press and for providing important resources to women working in the communications arena.”

The senator has won more than 760 awards for her professional and public service work, including more than 220 for communication projects. Second in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, she is the namesake of Texas A&M International University’s Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, United ISD’s Senator Judith Zaffirini Elementary School, Laredo Community College’s Senator Judith Zaffirini Library, Lake Casa Blanca International State Park’s Senator Judith Zaffirini Road and Edinburg’s Judith Zaffirini Residential Treatment Center that focuses on fighting drug addiction.

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, represents District 21 in the Texas Senate. A strong communicator on behalf of her constituents, she has won more than 220 awards for communication projects.

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, represents District 21 in the Texas Senate. A strong communicator on behalf of her constituents, she has won more than 220 awards for communication projects.

Senator Judith Zaffirini Named “Legislative Champion” by Texas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs

(AUSTIN) – Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, on Friday (May 16) received the Legislative Champion Award from the Texas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs.

“Boys and Girls Clubs have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people, and I am delighted to champion them in the Texas Senate,” said Senator Zaffirini, who was inducted into the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame in San Francisco earlier this month. “I am grateful to the Texas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs and the Laredo Boys and Girls Club for this meaningful award, which I share with everyone who cares about the well-being of Texas children.”

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Zaffirini helped secure $9 million in funding over the last six years for the Texas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs for its Texas Academic Innovation and Mentoring Program (Texas AIM), an academic intervention program that provides multi-layered support to at-risk children. She also supported funding for the Statewide Youth Services Network (SYSN), which helps Boys and Girls Clubs operate juvenile delinquency prevention programs for youth ages 6-17. What’s more, in 2008 she worked with the Laredo Boys and Girls Club and the South Texas Food Bank to raise awareness of child hunger.

A longtime supporter of Texas Boys and Girls Clubs in general and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Laredo in particular, the senator is proud that the Laredo club has been serving youth in her hometown since 1946. Her parents took her and her sisters to swim, play ping pong and enjoy family activities at the club in the 1950s.

There are 372 Boys and Girls Clubs in Texas, and 170 Texas communities have at least one. These clubs serve more than 342,000 children who benefit from trained, caring staff and volunteers who help them take control of their lives, envision productive futures and reach their goals.

YOUTH MEMBERS OF THE LAREDO Boys and Girls Club congratulate Senator Judith Zaffirini on receiving the Legislative Champion Award from the Texas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs.

YOUTH MEMBERS OF THE LAREDO Boys and Girls Club congratulate Senator Judith Zaffirini on receiving the Legislative Champion Award from the Texas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs.

Senator Zaffirini Featured in 2014 “Share the Passion” Calendar By Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas

Calendar Highlights Diversity, Talent of Texas Children with Down Syndrome

(LAREDO) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, a champion for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is on the cover of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT) 2014 Share the Passion calendar, which highlights children with Down syndrome sharing their passions with musicians, athletes, businesspersons and state and local leaders.

Also featured for August, Senator Zaffirini is joined by Ocean Pierce-Shimomura, 11, in a series of photographs taken when she hosted him at the Texas Senate.

“This calendar is so exceptional because it highlights the diversity, talents and passions of persons with Down syndrome,” Senator Zaffirini said. “I am grateful to the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas for inviting me to participate in a project as inspiring as it is educational.”

The calendar includes facts about Down syndrome, opportunities for life-enriching activities, resources for parents of children with Down syndrome and information regarding respectful, person-first language.

Senator Zaffirini long has advocated for legislation and funding that help persons with disabilities live happy, healthy, productive lives in their communities. Bills she has authored or sponsored include measures enhancing transitional living assistance for children with disabilities, protecting the rights of those living in state institutions and requiring state agencies to use person-first respectful language. She has received the Public Servant of the Year Award from the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities and the Leadership Award from The Arc of Texas.

Copies of the calendar may be obtained via DSACT’s website, www.dsact.com.

OCEAN PIERCE-SHIMOMURA, 11, shares his passion for The University of Texas at Austin and all things Texan with Senator Judith Zaffirini in the Texas Senate. The series of photographs comprises the cover of the 2014 Share the Passion calendar produced by the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT). A member of the Senate Finance, Health and Human Services and Higher Education committees, Senator Zaffirini prioritizes working with organizations such as DSACT to improve quality of life and educational opportunities for persons with disabilities.

OCEAN PIERCE-SHIMOMURA, 11, shares his passion for The University of Texas at Austin and all things Texan with Senator Judith Zaffirini in the Texas Senate. The series of photographs comprises the cover of the 2014 Share the Passion calendar produced by the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT). A member of the Senate Finance, Health and Human Services and Higher Education committees, Senator Zaffirini prioritizes working with organizations such as DSACT to improve quality of life and educational opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Senator Zaffirini Inducted into National Alumni Hall of Fame By Boys and Girls Clubs of America

(AUSTIN) -The Boys and Girls Clubs of America on Thursday (May 1) inducted Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and nine other honorees into its Alumni Hall of Fame at its annual conference in San Francisco.

“I am grateful to the national Selection Committee for this award and to the Laredo Boys and Girls Club for nominating me,” said Senator Zaffirini, whose parents first took her and her sisters to swim, play ping pong and enjoy family activities at the Laredo Boys Club, which opened in 1946. “What’s more, I am delighted to champion Boys and Girls Clubs because I have seen the meaningful impact they have on our communities.”

There are 372 Boys and Girls Clubs in Texas, and 170 Texas communities have at least one. These clubs serve more than 342,000 children who benefit from trained, caring staff and volunteers who help them take control of their lives, envision productive futures and reach goals.

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Zaffirini helped secure $6 million in funding over the last four years for the Texas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs for its Texas Academic Innovation and Mentoring Program (Texas AIM), an academic intervention program that provides multi-layered support to at-risk children. What’s more, in 2008 she worked with the Laredo Boys and Girls Club and the South Texas Food Bank to raise awareness of child hunger.

“We want our children not only to match our achievements, but especially to exceed them,” Senator Zaffirini said. “The critical after-school and summer programs provided by Boys and Girls Clubs help thousands of children achieve their full potential.”

Other 2014 Alumni Hall of Fame honorees included Nick Cannon, California, actor, director, producer, and host of America’s Got Talent; Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio; Dr. Alexi Filippenko, California, astronomer and member of the 2011 Nobel Prize winning team in physics; Victor Cruz, New Jersey, star New York Giants football player; Chris Doleman, Pennsylvania, football player and member, NFL Hall of Fame; Tony La Russa, Florida, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer; Bill Russell, California, basketball player and winner of 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics; Eric Shanks, Indiana, co-president and COO of SFOX Sports Media Group and winner of six Emmy Awards; and Michael Smith, Massachusetts, director of the Social Innovation Fund, a White House initiative and program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Tony Award-winning actor and Hall of Fame member Courtney B. Vance was Master of Ceremonies.

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, is inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America in San Francisco by Tony Award Winner Courtney Vance. A champion for children, she supports Boys and Girls Clubs in their mission "to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens."

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, is inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America in San Francisco by Tony Award Winner Courtney Vance. A champion for children, she supports Boys and Girls Clubs in their mission “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”