Command Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Cordery, right, presents guest speaker Denise Chavez with a plaque for her participation in the Oct. 11 National Hispanic Heritage Month observance at White Sands Missile Range.

WSMR celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

White Sands Missile Range hosted a Chicano author from Las Cruces for a talk in observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month Oct. 11 at the Professional Development Center auditorium.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed every year in October. This year’s theme is “Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One.”

Guest Speaker Denise Chavez is a Fronteriza writer and bookseller. She and her husband Daniel Zolinsky, a Franco-American photographer, are the owners of the Casa Camino Real Bookstore located in the historic Mesquite District of Las Cruces.

She is the author of “The King and Queen of Comezon”, “Loving Pedro Infante”, “A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture”, and “Face of an Angel”.

After briefly talking about her upbringing in Las Cruces Chavez went on to speak about celebrating the uncommon heroes.

She talked about Roberto C. Medina, the first Chicano author to come out of Las Cruces and who lived and worked at WSMR as a camera tracker. Medina’s book is called “Two Ranges”.

In his book, Medina details his struggles in trying to advance because he didn’t have an education.

Chavez then went on to talk about her mother and how her book “A Taco Testimony” details her mother’s life as a single parent who made ends meet by working several jobs, to include being a Spanish teacher at WSMR, and selling encyclopedias.

“She was a hero to me,” Chavez said.

Chavez said the hard working are the salt of the earth.

“I carry the energy of those that came before me.”

Following her presentation Salvador Hernandez and Greg Roche sang a couple of mariachi songs. Those in attendance then enjoyed some homemade cultural food samplings.

By Miriam Rodriguez

WSMR Public Affairs