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Sunday, June 09, 2013

"Just a Thought" continues in La Prensa of San Antonio, 6-9

Just a Thought: La Prensa Publisher Tino Duran
By Steve Walker

For the past seven weeks now I have been writing about local and national Hispanic icons I have met personally over the years with surnames like Chavez, Cisneros, Bernal, Gonzalez, and more.

Each week I share my personal memory and encounters with these icons whether it was a one chance opportunity like my interview with activist Cesar Chavez, a photo op with former Mexican President Vicente Fox, or continuing interactions with home grown icons over a number of years.

As a columnist for La Prensa for two and a half years, I think it is certainly appropriate this week to write about my longtime friend and the man who approves my La Prensa columns, Publisher Tino Duran.

Ironically my first encounter with Mister Duran and his wife, Millie, was in the nineties at a local department store located in Crossroads Mall in Balcones Heights. The Mall is now called Wonderland of the Americas.

At the time my wife Linda and I were shopping in the Mall when we literally ran into him on that chance meeting. I knew who he was and so I walked up to him and introduced Linda and myself to him and Mrs. Duran.

Since we lived in Balcones Heights at the time, we did much of our shopping at the Mall. On numerous occasions after that first encounter we would run into them walking the mall and chit chat for a few minutes and then move on. Linda would visit with Mrs. Duran and I would visit with Mister Duran.

Eventually I was elected a City Councilman in Balcones Heights the first time in 1997 and on frequent occasions Mr. Duran would attend part or all of a council meeting. Again we visited before or after the meeting and he was always encouraging in offering good advice on a number of issues. Since he knew I worked as a reporter back in the day, he told me I could write and submit articles pertaining to Balcones Heights.

When I chaired a Salute to Balcones Heights Veterans in 2003, not only did La Prensa cover the event, but Mr. Duran attended and sat on the stage during the ceremony with other dignitaries. Guest speakers included Ret. Army Col. Bob Howard, a Medal of Honor Recipient and two retired Generals.

When our council voted to install Red Light Cameras in the city in 2007 I wrote some articles on the controversial cameras. At the time he offered me the opportunity to write an on-going column. For some dumb reason I declined at the time.

Later when I became Justice of the Peace, he offered me a second chance to write a column. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity and “Ask the Judge” ran successfully for the previous two years before “Just a Thought” took its place this past January.

A spiritual man, Mr. Duran has always shared his faith with me as well as others. Last year at an event he quietly handed me a 3x5 card with the encouraging words, “What moves the Lord is not the size of your need, but the faith you have to meet that need.” I keep that card close to remind me when I am down that better days are ahead.

His La Prensa Foundation awards annual scholarships, honors outstanding women in the community, and business and civic leaders who make a difference in people’s lives. That is somebody I look up to and admire.

Since I have been actively involved with Mr. Duran as a friend, I consider myself a better man for it.

I am honored that Mr. Duran has the faith in my writing ability to publish my column every Sunday for La Prensa and prouder to call him my friend and advisor.

Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”

Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.

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