BY MATTHEW RODRIGUEZ | STAFF WRITER

McALLEN — The annual Border Texan of the Year was canceled here due to COVID-19 concerns; however, the committee has scheduled a check presentation at the McAllen City Hall on Thursday morning.

Since 1989, the Border Texan organization has been dedicated to selecting an annual person from South Texas for its Border Texan of the Year. The organization’s committee selects one nominee per year based on their contributions and improvements that positively serves the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas.

The nominee is then recognized at an annual banquet that also serves as a fundraiser.

In 2019, the Border Texan of the Year was presented to Guy Bailey, the president of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for advocating higher education at an affordable cost.

“I also want to thank all of our faculty, staff, and students and our partners across the Rio Grande Valley for the success UTRGV has experienced. We have accomplished much, but we have much to do. I look forward to working with everyone,” Bailey said of his 2019 designation.

Bailey has created opportunities within South Texas, as UTRGV has been successful creating the School of Medicine and placed the university at the top in awarding the most undergraduate and graduate degrees to Hispanics in Texas.

UTRGV was also ranked the third-best public university in Texas by the Washington Monthly.

For the 2020 designation, the Border Texan committee has chosen to postpone the event due to COVID-19. The virus has raised health concerns regarding large gatherings as social distancing is recommended.

“While we do our best to adapt, with so many people and businesses struggling combined with the uncertainty and risks associated with gathering in large crowds, the Border Texan Committee felt that postponing the event was the right thing to do,” committee co-Chair John David Franz said.

The 2020 Border Texan of the Year was not selected but the funds accumulated in the 2019 banquet will be donated to a charity or a cause in South Texas on Thursday.

Bailey is scheduled to attend the check presentation at the McAllen City Hall Commission Chamber on Thursday. At the presentation, he will be announcing the selected charity that the funds will be donated to.

Though COVID-19 has halted many events, the Border Texan organization has plans to continue rewarding South Texans for their commitment to the community in the upcoming years.