COLLEGE STATION – Adelita Figueroa-Munoz, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Hidalgo County, has received a Superior Service Award in the Distinguished Career category.
The award was presented Jan. 8 during the agency’s Centennial Conference in College Station.
According to the award citation, Figueroa-Munoz was recognized for an exemplary career of almost 43 years beginning in 1971 when she was hired as the AgriLife Extension agent for the Expanded Nutrition Program — now known as the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program — and youth for Hidalgo County.
Over the years, the nomination cited, Figueroa-Munoz developed strong working relationships with community leaders, broadcasters, medical doctors, county officials, state and U.S. Congressmen and many other influential individuals who helped her help the people in “grinding poverty” in South Texas through various AgriLife Extension programs.
Former U.S. Congressman Kika de la Garza is quoted as once having said, “In other states, the program is known as the Expanded Nutrition Program, but in South Texas it is known as the Adelita Munoz Nutrition Program.”
“Adelita is legendary when it comes to forming partnerships to help educate those in need,” the citation reads. “She has partnered with state district judges, adult and juvenile probation departments and many others in organizing the Strengthening Families program. So far, 2,300 people have attended the court-mandated instruction, saving the state hundreds of thousands of dollars. She has also partnered with businesses to help purchase food, decorations, door prizes and plaques for programs and social events for the elderly, including senior proms.”
In a commendation letter, state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, wrote, “Her positive attitude, people skills and passion for empowering families with knowledge and skills enabled her to develop a strong team effort with her staff, and the many families they worked with. Her outreach numbers among all age groups, in both adult and youth programs, have been well-recognized to be the highest in the state.
“Adelita has made a difference in the lives of many. She is a mentor and an inspiration to all those who are touched by her passion for AgriLife Extension work and her determination to improve the lives of families.”
Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, president and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, wrote, “Adelita is not only a Christian first, she is a friend to everyone. Her workshops at our chamber are held year round and include parenting, family development, food handlers, health and proper nutrition, especially for diabetics. And she does these on a volunteer basis, in addition to her regular, professional responsibilities.
“Her people skills, positive attitude and passion for helping others are not taught, they are self-instilled. We are so lucky to have Adelita in our community.”
Superior Service awards are presented to personnel who demonstrate outstanding performance or provide exceptional service to AgriLife Extension, an educational outreach agency of the Texas A&M University System.