Every year, the Mayor’s Council on Aging in Corpus Christi, Texas, recognizes one of its residents with the city’s Greatest Treasures Award. To receive this honor, two major requirements have to be met: award winners must be at least 65 years old, and have to have made a serious commitment to making a difference in the community.
Tony Diaz, who is close to 80 and has held a long list of community leadership positions that date as far back as 1970, is the deserving recipient of the 2012 award. A panel of three local leaders awarded Diaz the highest rating for his dedication and extensive service to the community, according to Senior Community Services Superintendent Elsa Munoz in an article for the Corpus Christi Caller Times.
Part of Diaz’ service includes his involvement with Communities In Schools of the Coastal Bend. He started with the organization in 1986 when he became a board member, and has served on the board since then. Gloria Taylor, the organization’s executive director, told the paper, “He has such a wealth of information and provides guidance, but is open to your ideas. He is a great leader.”
“It breaks my heart to no end to see kids not liking school, dropping out and hanging out with the wrong friends,” Diaz told the Corpus Christi Caller Times. “I believe there is nothing more important than making sure students stay in school until they graduate.”
Diaz also has served as a mentor to students who are being raised by a single parent, in an effort to show them that another caring adult is taking a personal interest in them.
After a career as a teacher at Southgate Elementary School in Garland, Texas, Diaz took time off to serve in the Navy. When he returned to education years later, it was back to Southgate, as the school’s principal. Diaz has remained active in his community, serving on numerous school and education boards, giving his time and passion for more than 40 years.
As Diaz said in the Corpus Christi Caller Times article, “Time is a gift from God we must use to help others.”