There was a lot of nostalgia today at Brooks as friends and associates of the late Congressman Frank Tejeda gathered to dedicate a memorial to the influential political leader, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Tejeda, who died in 1997, was a Congressman, State Representative and State Senator, as well as a prominent attorney with degrees from both Harvard and Yale, and a U.S. Marine who received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.
Artist Cruz Ortiz, who designed the memorial, says he struggled with how to remember such a major figure as Tejeda.
"And I thought, there are no mountains on the southside, right?" he said. "Well there is one now and its right behind me and its name is Frank Tejeda, and he was an amazing, amazing role model."
There was a lot of talk about the 'Tres Ponchos,' Frank Tejeda, Frank Wing, and Frank Madla, now all dead, who very much laid the groundwork for the growth of the city's south side from an out-of-the-way low income enclave to the economic powerhouse it is today, driven by developments like Brooks, Port San Antonio, and Texas A&M San Antonio.
Southeast side Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, who went to high school with one of Tejeda's three daughters, recalled how the Congressman would hold court and talk with all comers at Sizzler's Restaurant on Military Highway.
"He had the girls in one booth and he had his own booth with all of his papers and all of his work, and people would just come up and sit there and meet with him," she recalled.
Tejeda is credited with being one of the leaders in the effort to turn Brooks Air Force Base and Kelly Air Force Base, which both closed after his death, but were singled out for closing while he was in Congress, into the economic generators they are today, both employing more people today than they employed when they were miltiary bases.
FRANK TEJEDA MEMORIAL AT BROOKS, CRUZ ORTIZ, ARTIST