Beto O’Rourke, Ruben Garcia honored in annual El Pasoan of the Year ceremony


Noah Sarabia

Beto O’ Rourke was honored as El Pasoan of the Year by El Paso Inc.

Noah Sarabia , Contributor

El Paso Inc. awarded Director of the Annunciation House Ruben Garcia the Community Spirit award, and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke the El Pasoan of the Year award Tuesday, Feb. 19, at its annual El Pasoan of the Year luncheon at the Centennial Club on Fort Bliss.

For the past 10 years, El Paso Inc. has annually recognized an individual or organization of importance in El Paso that has helped shape the community. This year’s nominees included Ahsan Choudhuri, Leo Duran, Veronica Escobar, Ruben Garcia, Aaron Jones, Fred Loya Sr., Beto O’Rourke and Khalid Robinson.

The Community Spirit Award represents an individual or an organization in the community who not only exemplifies the spirit of El Paso in their work, but also in the extra work they contribute to different organizations and causes. El Pasoan of the Year recognizes an individual who goes above and beyond in the elevation of the community in a positive way.

Community Spirit Award

This year, Garcia was recognized with the Community Spirit Award for his active work in the Annunciation House. The Annunciation House is dedicated to helping those in need, including but not limited to the poor and the undocumented. Garcia said his organization sees close to 3,000 refugees per week.

Garcia has worked at the at the Annunciation House for 41 years, a lifelong journey for him, and he doesn’t see an end in sight. When asked if he would continue working he stated, “I will continue with it as long as the good Lord allows me to do it,” Garcia said.

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El Pasoan of the Year

The El Pasoan of The Year award was given to former congressman Beto O’Rourke. He was awarded not only for his actions in politics, but everything he has done to shine a positive light on the “City of El Paso.”

His wife, Amy O’Rourke, expressed her gratitude by stating that it is not only a recognition of her husband but also a recognition of the people that have helped them in their journey.

“They’re totally stepping up to take charge and make sure the people they elect in office see through to the things that they find important,” she said.

To O´Rourke, the award represents a pinnacle. He said that everything he has done professionally has been inspired by El Paso. 

“El Paso has done heroic work in order to make this a better country,” O’Rourke said.

He explained that the award also recognizes the people behind him who have made him a better person along the way.  He stated that he does not do anything for the recognition rather he aims to do a great job for El Paso. He stated that the city has inspired him.