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Texas House recognizes AgriLife Extension's Yolanda Morado

Resolution honors 34 years of exemplary service to Texas-Mexico border


The Texas House of Representatives has passed a resolution honoring Yolanda Morado for 34 years of service to one of the most impoverished areas of the country.

State Rep. Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City authored House Resolution 1829 to recognize Morado's life of service to South Texas as a Texas AgriLife Extension Service county agent in Starr County.

The resolution also honored her for having received the 2008 Regents Fellow Service Award from the Texas A&M Board of Regents in December.

In presenting the resolution to the House for their consideration, Guillen described Morado as "my Extension agent when I was growing up, my 4-H leader and my mentor."

Among her many accomplishments, Guillen noted her work in Starr County directing the Better Living for Texans program that teaches nutrition, food safety, wellness and financial management to more than 8,000 people.

"Besides teaching diabetes health care courses herself," Guillen said, "Ms. Morado has trained over 1,500 volunteers to educate South Texans about health, financial security, parenting, literacy and environmental stewardship issues."

He also praised her work in increasing awareness and knowledge of issues along both sides of the Texas-Mexico border, helping entrepreneurs start their own businesses, and hosting annual child care conferences to provide professional training and continuing education for women pursuing child-care careers.

"I ask you all to please help me in recognizing, congratulating and welcoming Ms. Yolanda Morado to these chambers," he said, as fellow House members turned to and applauded Morado.

Seated with Morado and also recognized by Guillen were Dr. Ed Smith, director of AgriLife Extension, and Dr. Ruben Saldana, the AgriLife Extension District 12 administrator in Weslaco.

Saldana said Morado's accolades are a first for South Texas.

"This is the first time anyone from South Texas has been named as a regents fellow by the Texas A&M System Board of Regents," he said. "We are grateful to Rep. Guillen for initiating the resolution and to his staff for their effort in making it a reality."

After the ceremonies, Morado, a native of neighboring Hidalgo County, noted that as a young girl she'd always liked visiting Starr County and even then thought it would be a great place to work.

"I love being an Extension agent because there is little in life that is as fulfilling as working with families in Starr County," she said. "These are families who welcome you into their homes and embrace educational opportunities, and that has made my work so gratifying."

Morado noted that her AgriLife Extension work has been far more than a career.

"It is my passion and my mission in life," she said. "I had many opportunities to leave Starr County and lots of job offers, but I never felt I could leave because there was always so much to be done."

Guillen also noted that Morado had done an admirable job of raising her daughter, Melissa, and sons, including Victor, a noted columnist and author in the Rio Grande Valley.

My other son, Monchito, who passed away in 2001, used to say I was the only person he knew who would make excuses to go to work," she recalled. "But my Extension families are what make coming to work every day so very special, and together we hope and dream and work at improving our communities and our lives."

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