McALLEN — Eddie Lucio Jr.’s lips shook, eyes welled up and his voice quivered. He said his late father would’ve been emotional, like Lucio was on Friday, when the State Senator from Brownsville was announced as 2017 Border Texan of the Year.
“I love my Valley,” Lucio said on his 71st birthday, Friday, at PlainsCapital Bank.
Fortunately, Lucio was able to tell his mother, who’s living in a nursing home, that he won the award that began in 1989. Lucio said he was at the inaugural Border Texan event and hadn’t missed one since. But he never dreamed he’d join past winners such as George W. Bush when he was governor, former Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, U.S. Rep. Kika De La Garza and many others.
Lucio will be honored at the Border Texan of the Year banquet at McAllen Convention Center on March 24. Funds raised at the event will be dispersed to non-profit and educational institutions of Lucio’s choosing throughout the RGV.
Glen E. Roney, a past winner and chairman of the Border Texan of the Year Committee, and other committee members said Lucio’s work with veterans, healthcare and public schools contributed to his selection, as well as the legislation Lucio has helped pass to impact the RGV.
While Lucio was grateful for the honor, he was also inspired.
“This is a major responsibility that I need to double up now and work harder to earn this designation,” Lucio said. “It’s nothing that we should just take lightly. I think I should work even harder now to make a bigger difference in my community.”