El Paso, Texas (KVIA-TV)- As the saying goes, age is nothing but a number, which holds true for Manuela Martínez Reyes, who continues to exemplify a life of service to others. At 90 , Manuela Martínez Reyes doesn't let her age stop her. Her son Raul Reyes says his Mom has faced personal hardships and loss and has dedicated herself to raising two sons and taking care of family members. Raul says that besides being a single mother, she was a full-time caretaker to her parents.
Raul explained, "At the ripe old age 69, she decided to be the volunteer she's always been." he shared that in 2001, his wife told him about a program called Senior Companion, operated by Clinica La Fe in South El Paso. The program seeks volunteers aged 50 and over to provide companionship to their peers.
Estela Reyes-Lopez, the media relations and public information officer for Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, says, "She comes from a personal history of the struggle many of our children in south El Paso do."
Reyes-Lopez says that volunteers like Manuela are very important for many of the clients at Centro de Salud Familiar la Fe. She said, "Many mothers and fathers aren't visited as often as they should. They don't receive a phone call as often as they should. Volunteers are their lifeline, who they get to vent with, share joys with, share a tear with".
Reyes-Lopez says they are lucky to have Manuela, "We adore her," she added.
Manuela continues to give back to El Paso, she received a $1000 donation for being recognized as the ABC-7 Do Gooder this month. She decided to donate that money to La Fe Preparatory School. The idea came to fruition while she was having a conversation with her granddaughter, who is a teacher at La Fe. She explained to Manuela that the school needed equipment, such as new basketballs for students. Manuela graciously selected the school so they can put the money towards necessities for the students.
Her admiration for humanity is felt by everyone who crosses her path. She started volunteering for the Senior Companion program in 2001 but still finds time to recruit new volunteers.
Although Manuela has faced difficulties, that hasn't stopped her from dedicating her life to her family and the El Paso community.
Her son Raul says their family can only try to emulate all she has done.
"It's important that she hears these things. People don't say nice things about you until you are 8 feet under, "Manuela's family describes her dedication to others as a definitive personification of living the gospel.
If you would like to recognize someone who has positively impacted the borderland community, you can nominate them for the Do Gooder Award. The Do-Gooder gets a prize, and the El Paso Community Foundation will give $1,000 in the Do-Gooder's name to an organization of their choice.