On Wednesday, Sept. 12, Sister Norma Pimentel will be presented with the Hispanic Heritage Community Service Award in Washington DC.
The Hispanic Heritage Awards were established by the White House under the Regan administration in 1987, with the purpose of commemorating the Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. The Hispanic Heritage Awards are known to be the highest honors by Latinos for Latinos and are supported by 40 national Hispanic- serving institutions.
Sister Pimentel, a religious sister for the Missionaries of Jesus community and Executive Director of Catholic Charites of the Rio Grande Valley, led the humanitarian response to the 2014 surge of Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States entering through the south Texas border. The Humanitarian Respite Center was created as a safe respite for families where they could be welcomed and offered a place to rest, enjoy a warm meal, shower, change clothes, and receive medical care and assistance with their travel arrangement to their final destination.
Because of her work, Sister Pimentel was named one of the 2015 Catholics of the Year by Our Sunday Visitor and the recipient of the 2018 Laetare Medal from Norte Dame University.
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation announced Sister Pimentel as the 2018 Hispanic Heritage Community Service Award recipient on July 3.
When she accepts her award on Sept. 12, Sister Pimentel will launch a $5.5 million capital campaign and a design competition with the goal of covering the full cost of the building of a permanent Humanitarian Respite Center.
The vision for the new Humanitarian Respite Center is to create an environment for the community to learn and honor solidarity and serve as a beacon that symbolizes hope, love, unity and compassion for generations to come.
A celebration to recognize Sister Pimentel for her award and to launch the capital campaign is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, at NIU Urban Living (1318 N. 10th St. McAllen, TX) at 5:30 p.m.
The news media are invited to arrive at 5 p.m. for a press conference.