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Gustavo Garcia Inducted Into Walk of Heroes

EAPrep Ana Martinez, Gloria Mata Pennington, Susana Almanza, Gus Garcia, Lloyd Doggett, Marina Garcia, and Dr. Juan Sanchez.

(L-R) EAPrep Ana Martinez, Gloria Mata Pennington, Susana Almanza, Gus Garcia, Lloyd Doggett, Marina Garcia, and Dr. Juan Sanchez.

Former Mayor of Austin and education advocate Gustavo Garcia was inducted into the Southwest Key Walk of Heroes Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 at the national nonprofit’s East Austin headquarters, el Centro de Familia. .

Gus Garcia with Southwest Key's Founder and CEO, Dr. Juan Sanchez.

Gus Garcia with Southwest Key's Founder and CEO, Dr. Juan Sanchez.

“One of the things that we have done with our Walk of Heroes is to use it as an opportunity to recognize people who have made contributions to this community and to Southwest Key,” said Dr. Juan Sanchez, CEO of Southwest Key Programs. “And Gus Garcia is that hero for us.”

Garcia, the first in his family to attend college, made his life a tribute to civic responsibility. The Certified Public Accountant rose to become Austin’s first Latino mayor, making him a hero to many in the community he calls home.

Austin City Councilman, Mike Martinez speaks during the Walk of Heroes ceremony.

Austin City Councilman, Mike Martinez speaks during the Walk of Heroes ceremony.

At the induction ceremony, Garcia was honored by such distinguished speakers as Congressman Lloyd Doggett, environmental activist Susana Almanza, Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez, and Southwest Key Board Member Victor Garza.

“The work that is happening today is because of the work that Gus started,” said Martinez. “He is not in office but he is still helping us today and his legacy will last on. That is why we are here honoring him at the Walk of Heroes.”

2013 Walk of Heroes Honoree, Susana Almanza performed an Earth Blessing to start the ceremony.

2013 Walk of Heroes Honoree, Susana Almanza performed an Earth Blessing to start the ceremony.

A group of academics and community leaders were also present to pay homage to Garcia’s work and East Austin College Prep student Ana Martinez read her award-winning essay on Garcia to a crowd of hundreds. “I hope one day to be a leader like Gus Garcia because he inspires me and believes in creating change,” Martinez read.

“I am pleased to write Gus’ accomplishments into stone, well at least into mosaic right here at the Walk of Heroes,” added Doggett. “He had a great insight in how to advance people and he recognized the importance of holding every public official accountable,”

Gus Garcia with the UT Longhorns Mariachi Band. Garcia is an alumni of University of Texas at Austin.

Gus Garcia with the UT Longhorns Mariachi Band. Garcia is an alumni of University of Texas at Austin.

The ceremony closed with the unveiling of a mosaic portrait of Garcia to be permanently displayed on the Walk of Heroes. The piece was created by Houston artist Rosalinda R. Toro, who has designed all the portraits on the Walk of Heroes.

For more photos, check out Southwest Key’s Facebook Album.

EAPrep Interim Superintendent, Dr. Sal Cavazos, Walk of Heroes 2014 Honoree, Gus Garcia, Southwest Key Board Chair, Victor Garza and Southwest Key Founder and CEO, Dr. Juan Sanchez

(L-R) EAPrep Interim Superintendent, Dr. Sal Cavazos, Walk of Heroes 2014 Honoree, Gus Garcia, Southwest Key Board Chair, Victor Garza and Southwest Key Founder and CEO, Dr. Juan Sanchez