80 Over Eighty Honoree – Mary Gonzales
Mary Gonzales was nominated by her daughter-in-law Gail. Gail shares that Mary is a tireless, amazing woman who just turned 81. She is always positive and smiling, and very active in her community.
For the last 4 years, Mary has been traveling on the MegaBus to Dallas every Monday through Thursday night to take care of her great grandchild Thilyn (tea-lyn) who was born with a serious heart condition. Mary has spent countless hours traveling and her MegaBus friends simply love her. They reserve her favorite seat on the bus and always asking how Thilyn is doing. It has brought Mary so much joy to travel with her MegaBus friends and to see her great-granddaughter’s steady improvement. The family calls Thilyn the miracle baby because even after two heart surgeries she is thriving thanks to the loving care of Mary.
When Mary is not in Dallas caring for her great granddaughter, her and her husband Ralph run a nonprofit called Nosotros la Gente (We the People) in San Marcos. For the last 22 years she has organized 40 or more volunteers and helped Ralph annually cook 1,000 Thanksgiving meals. Each year, these holiday meals are sold to purchase 1,400 shoe vouchers for children of low-income families so they can begin the school year on the right foot. Mary and Ralph’s passion to help others has made a huge impact on the San Marcos community, providing over 20,000 pairs of shoes.
Mary is very grateful that she is blessed with good health, so she can serve her friends, work in her garden, and take care of the family and community she loves.
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Photo by Annie Ray – annieraycreative.com; Instagram – @annieraydotnet