September is Hispanic Heritage Month and one local woman is continuing to make a difference in the Rio Grande Valley.
“What I do is not me. Every morning I start my day with God and let him guide me. To help me be who he wants me to be, to be his hands, his feet, his arms, his voice.”
Sister Norma Pimentel is the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and founder of the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen. That center has cared for hundreds of thousands of immigrants crossing through the Rio Grande Valley giving a voice to the voiceless.
“It is important because it upholds life, human life, and to protect it, defend it. It’s critical that we as a community make sure we stand up and be a voice and protect those that are needing our help.”
When immigrants come to her they are often in dire need of assistance. More importantly, they are in need of love. She comforts them with a warm meal, a shower, a place to rest, children a place to play, but she is not alone on this journey
“It is the Rio Grande Valley that has done this. The Valley has stood up to say yes, to defend, to protect, to offer compassion and care.
Some say the work Sister Pimentel does is nothing short of a miracle. We asked her how her culture of being a Latina helps her in the work she does.
“We are a people that have a strong beautiful heart to defend life, to defend family, to defend children.”
With immigrant families and unaccompanied children continuing to stream across the border we asked her if she had any advice for politicians in finding a solution.
“I think they have to start being part of the solution and stop being part of the problem. I think it’s time that they focus on doing their jobs as public servants.”
Over the past few years Sister Pimentel has been honored and awarded for her work in the Rio Grande Valley. She says when she is recognized for her actions, she stands together with the thousands in the community who have come together in answering so many prayers.
“I go as an ambassador of those who have joined with me in making a difference in the life of others.”
This month Sister Normal Pimentel will travel to Washington, D.C. to receive the Hispanic Heritage Award for Community Service. An award established by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
“It’s good to be Latina it’s wonderful and I’m proud of being myself. Who I am who God made me here right at the border. I get to experience both cultures, my Mexican culture, who I am as a Mexicana and also as an American that was born here and grew up right here at the border.”
Sister Norma will receive the Hispanic Heritage Award on Wednesday, September 12 in Washington, D.C. The Rio Grande Valley will celebrate with her when she returns.