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NEWS | Sept. 26, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Month comes to Lackland

By Meredith Canales 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off Monday with a breakfast celebrate the culture of those whose ancestry traces back to Spanish-speaking countries.

"We have four major events planned and some minor things around base to celebrate this month," said wing point of contact Capt. Jose Martinez, 318th Training Squadron. "We started, of course, with the breakfast, to begin the month."

The kickoff breakfast consisted of music, dancers and a piñata, with the first hit going to 37th Training Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Len Patrick. This year's El Rey Feo, Fernando Martinez, spoke at the event.

"The next event we're going to have will be the luncheon, which will be held at the Gateway Club Oct. 1," said Captain Martinez. "The cost of admission is $11 for members and $13 for non-members. We'll have mariachis and dancers, and we'll be distributing the prizes for our essay contests, which have been designed around writing an essay about an influential Hispanic American."

Following the luncheon, there will be a Latin Night Oct. 4, also at the Gateway club.

"This is a free event that's open basewide," said Captain Martinez. "There will be a live band and a DJ; plus, we'll have a salsa contest. We'll have some small gifts for the winners and hopefully a lot of fun."

The final event in the lineup is sure to be a favorite.

"Oct. 10 we'll be having a food tasting at Arnold Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.," said Captain Martinez. "Volunteers will cook Spanish cuisine, we have a group of Brazilian folks who will be performing some dances and there will be Latin music and a DJ. It's designed to show everyone at Lackland all the different types of cuisine you'll see throughout Latin America. It's not just tacos and burritos."

Captain Martinez said it's important for Lackland to celebrate Hispanic Heritage.

"This is to let non-Hispanic people see what our heritage is all about," he said. "It's not just Mexico; we have a wide array from Spain to Argentina to Caribbean folks. We're basically all descendents from Spain. Many, many cultures encompass what Hispanic Heritage is all about."