BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) – Members of the Brownsville Order of Alhambra celebrated their oldest active member in the world with a drive-by parade and front yard ceremony on Friday.
Vicente Guzman was born on January 22, 1921, in Martindale, Texas. He is the only surviving son out of 14 children and lives in Brownsville. His only daughter, Carla Permenter watches over him, along with her husband and daughter.
“At 90, we had a little get together. And then we said okay everybody, ‘at 95, we’re gonna have another one,’ so at 95 we had everybody. For his 100 now, people have passed on, and all I kept thinking was ‘Please God, let him live to be 100,’ because he kept saying ‘in two years, I’ll be 100 years old,” said Permenter.
Guzman was the only one out of the 14 children to get a college education and was a teacher until he retired in 1986 at 65 years old. Many of his students still recognize him around town.
“BISD, Brownsville Independent School District, offered him his first job. So, he came down, he said, ‘I’m gonna come, stay a year, and go back, go back home.’ He’s here,” laughed Permenter.
Guzman stayed in Brownsville and joined the Order of Alhambra after his wife passed in 2000.
The Catholic organization is dedicated to assisting intellectually disabled or handicapper people.
“What else can we do except help each other,” said Guzman.
The Order celebrated Guzman’s 100th birthday on Friday with a drive-by parade and ceremony on his front lawn.
“I didn’t know I had so many friends,” said Guzman. “Of course, with that mask, I didn’t know who was who.”
They presented Guzman with a lifetime membership card to the organization. During the ceremony, it was noted that Guzman is the oldest active member in the world.
Texas State Senator and member, Eddie Lucio was also in attendance and presented Guzman with a flag flown above the Texas Capitol.
“I’m very excited that this happened because this was going to be a very minute celebration because of COVID-19,” said Permenter. “I’m very grateful because these are people that didn’t have to do anything, and they did. They celebrated my daddy’s birthday.”
Guzman danced with this daughter and granddaughter to a few songs played by a mariachi band and took pictures with everyone.
The centenarian says he has joked with people that the secret to longevity is drinking coffee.
“Keep on living,” laughed Guzman.