What do Boxing and Easter Baskets have in common? The obvious answer would be nada-nothing. Pero, if you lived in West Dallas/Oak Cliff, the answer for many families would be an easy one. And that is Mr. Rudy Hinguanzo, which not only started a boxing program and helped his now-deceased wife Dolores start and coordinate the annual Easter Basket giveaway 40 years ago. They initially held it at the Anita Martinez Recreation Center. And then, after a few years, they moved and expanded the program to the West Dallas Battan Center.

By A. Govea

Baskets Donated by the Community

In this “Look at me” society we live in now, we post every minor accomplishment or great meal and wait for praise. People like Rudy and his deceased wife never sought the spotlight or recognition. Instead, for them, it was like my uncle once told me when I was a kid, “Do you know what the reward is for a job well done? (Me,) No Sá (Don’t Know) his response “More Work” Back then, I did not fully understand that. Pero, I do now, as I’m sure Rudy does. The work is the reward, mainly when it serves others. And if you live long enough, sometimes your excellent work bears fruit in the lives of others as well.

Rudy Hinguanzo

A perfect example of that is Mr. Juan Cervantes, a now-retired from Law Enforcement with the Dallas District Attorney’s office and a former member of Rudy’s boxing club. Juan shared he came here at age 8 with his family from Mexico, seeking a better life. Pero that better life for an 8-year-old can be very confusing when you are uprooted from friends and family. Especially at an age where you just understand relationship dynamics. Imagine coming to a strange land where people speak a’ Well’ language foreign to you. Juan struggled to find direction in his young life, especially as he reached his teen years.

Enter Rudy Hinguanzo, a Golden Gloves Boxing coach, a father figure to many, and a mentor to his peers. According to Juan, Rudy would address him by his Sir name Cervantes, something he did not really appreciate back then. Back then Mr Cervantes was known as El Juanio from West Side, Cervantes chela/no, not for Juanio. Pero, as time went by, he understood that addressing someone by their sir’s name is a sign of respect, just like in the military or any professional setting. Rudy had not only taught him the sweet art of boxing but perhaps about life itself. Ruben Sombrerero was also a former member of Rudy’s boxing team. He acknowledges the discipline he learned under the direction of Rudy served him well when he enlisted in the Armed Services. Mr. Sombrerero, a veteran of the Gulf War, has served as an assistant to Rudy in the boxing club; he and his wife and children also help/volunteer with the Easter Program.

Ahora/Back to Easter Baskets over forty years ago, Rudy attended a community Easter Egg hunt before his Easter program. He noticed that most of the kids were using random paper sacks to gather their Easter bounty. A light went off. Rudy thought, we can do better; we must do better. He thought their first efforts netted 7 baskets; well, it is a start, but he knew they must do better. And better they did, first with the help of family and friends, then other people in the community joined in. Pretty soon, Mr. Cervantes, now a full-fledged Dallas Police Officer, got involved and convinced some of his fellow officers to do the same. This Saturday, April 16th, this program will give over 250 baskets. The baskets are not one size fits all. They are specific to age groups. Newborn baskets get pampers, bottles, wipes, and baby clothes. And according to Rudy’s daughter, her dad insists all baskets have coloring books and crayons among the standard fare basket goodies.

In May, Mr. Rudy Hinguanzo will be turning 82 and is beginning to experience failing health, so this may be his last year to attend. The Battan Center is honoring Rudy for his dedication to area children through his Easter Program. We at Hola Texas E El Weekender join them in saluting Mr. Hinguanzo for a life well-lived. I am reminded of a lyric in the old Tejano song titled ‘Don Luis El Tejano” En un Surco largo pasaron Los anos (In a long row, the years passed). Pero, it wasn’t’ for nothing; just ask his family and the families he served. His daughter (Teresa Ortiz) has assured me that the program will continue. May God Bless Mr. Hinguanzo and his family.

(The coordination of any program requires money and volunteers to succeed, especially one that has survived and prospered through four decades. Special Thank You To The Following Family and Friends; Teresa Ortiz, Denise 1 and Denise 2, Karina and Margie, Robert and Albert along with their families, The Entire Hinguanzo family)

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