MONTE ALTO, Texas (KVEO) — One Monte Alto resident is not ready to stop serving her community.
Connie Villanueva served on the Monte Alto school board for over 20 years. This year, she was not reelected, but her work continues.
Two years ago, she helped fund the Monte Alto Recreation Center, a nonprofit organization that Villanueva says helps the community “as much as they can.”
Even before creating the nonprofit, Villanueva actively helped the residents in Monte Alto.
“People tend to look for her because, we’re not a, like I said again, an incorporated town. We don’t have mayors, we don’t have nobody to go to, so she’s our go-to person in Monte Alto,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, who helped start the nonprofit with Villanueva.
Residents remember Villanueva helping out during the community’s most vulnerable moments.
“During the floods, she started by giving out cleaning supplies, clean water, food. And then we got this pandemic and she would make sure that the community had medications, that they had access to doctors, that they were being taken care of,” said Villanueva’s long-time friend and colleague Ester Cardoza-Wade.
Villanueva’s service goes beyond what anyone would expect, and her faith in God keeps her going.
“If she can do it, she will get it done,” said Villanueva’s former softball player and now teacher, Jaclyn Martinez, as she describes the lengths Villanueva goes to meet whatever need comes her way.
“The basic things we take for granted, a lot of our people don’t have it,” said Villanueva. “I know what it’s like to have lived on rice and beans. I come from a family of ten, so I know the need, and now thank God, I’m in a position where I can help. And I have friends and family that you see all around here that help us, and it’s a community effort.”
Last Friday, Villanueva and her MARC volunteers handed out and delivered 500 Thanksgiving meals that included a full turkey and sides to the residents of Monte Alto. For many in this community, such a meal would be difficult to bring to the table.
“With God, all things are possible and we’re gonna help everybody and we’re gonna get through this,” said Villanueva.