Celebrating Excellence: Edinburg Chamber to Honor Leaders at Installation & Awards Banquet

The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce proudly announces Sam Saldivar and Sabrina Walker-Hernandez as its 2023 Man and Woman of the Year. The chamber will roll out the red carpet in celebration of their outstanding contributions at the Annual Installation & Awards Banquet, scheduled for Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at 6:30 P.M. The event will take place at the Region One Service Center, located at 1900 W Schunior St.

This year’s theme, “Hollywood Glamour,” will add a touch of movie star elegance to the evening. The gala will also serve as a platform to introduce Kelly Salazar, representing Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP, as the incoming President, while acknowledging Mario Lizcano from DHR Health as the outgoing President of the Board for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, we will pay tribute to our 2023 award recipients, celebrating their remarkable achievements and contributions.

The prestigious 2023 Leadership Award will be awarded to Judge Omar Maldonado, and the title of 2023 Edinburg Chamber Ambassador of the Year will be presented to Karla Garcia, of DHR Health.

About the 2023 Man of the Year

Sam Saldivar, a native of Harlingen, TX, first began his career in Edinburg, TX in 1961 when he represented the American National Life Insurance Company, serving the local community. He later transitioned to State Farm Insurance, where he dedicated an impressive 57 years to caring for his customers.

Beyond his professional endeavors, philanthropy and volunteerism hold a special place in his heart. Over the years, he has devoted an extensive amount of time and commitment to various organizations, including, but not limited to: the  Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion Post 408, Kiwanis Club of Edinburg, Club de Amistad, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Boys Scouts of America – Pack # 77, and the Edinburg Golf Association.

Throughout his career, Sam Saldivar has attributed his success to his life philosophy of believing in the Lord and daily prayer. At the age of 90, Sam Saldivar is set to embark on a well-deserved retirement in late October 2023. His contributions to both his career and community are a testament to his unwavering dedication and service.

About the 2023 Woman of the Year

Philanthropy has always been an integral part of Sabrina Walker-Hernandez’s life. Introduced to the world of giving back from an early age, she was raised in a household led by a missionary who instilled in her the value of community and church service.

Sabrina’s journey began with a career in the United States Army, where she honed her leadership skills. After her military service, she found her true calling with the Boys & Girls Clubs, dedicating 20 years of her life to this organization. Throughout her tenure, she served in various roles, including director of services, operations, and executive leadership.

Her influence extended far beyond her role at the Boys & Girls Clubs, making a remarkable impact on the Rio Grande Valley’s non-profit sector. One of her most significant achievements was boosting operational revenue from $750,000 to an impressive $2.5 million over an eight-year span. She also took on the responsibility of planning, overseeing, and successfully completing a $12 million comprehensive capital campaign. In a region marked by economic challenges, she established a substantial $500,000 endowment, demonstrating her commitment to uplifting her community.

Sabrina is not only a survivor but a thriver, having conquered the challenges of cancer. Her resilience and determination are hallmarks of her character.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Sabrina dedicates her time and energy to various organizations, including but not limited to the Edinburg Rotary Club, Village in the Valley, Edinburg EDC, MVEC Cares Board, Museum of South Texas History Board, and the Edinburg Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. Her active involvement in these organizations showcases her unwavering commitment to the betterment of her community and the people she serves.

About the 2023 Outstanding Leader

Judge Omar Maldonado, a proud native of Edinburg, TX, extends his exceptional leadership far beyond the courtroom. As the owner of Barrel House Kitchen in Edinburg, he’s demonstrated an unwavering commitment to his community’s welfare.

From the very inception of his restaurant, Judge Maldonado’s vision encompassed a desire to give back to the place he calls home. Together with his business partner, he crafted a meal program targeting children in need, exemplifying their dedication to fostering a positive influence within their community.

In collaboration with the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, this program provides essential meals to students facing weekend food insecurity. Through their tireless efforts, they have distributed over 1,600 meals and counting, showcasing the remarkable success and effectiveness of their initiative.

Judge Maldonado and Barrel House Kitchen have embraced a mission to make a tangible difference and actively contribute to the well-being of local children. Their commitment to their hometown serves as an inspiring example for others to follow.

About the 2023 Ambassador of the Year

This years Ambassador of the Year is Karla Garcia, who currently serves as the Director of Community Outreach at DHR Health. Karla began volunteering at the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce as an ambassador in 2022. Her dedication and contributions have been truly exceptional. Since her involvement in the Membership and Events Committee, she has led fundraising efforts that have yielded an impressive $20,000 in the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Karla’s commitment extends beyond the chamber as she participates in Edinburg Crime Stoppers, the Kiwanis Club of Edinburg, and serves on the Leadership Edinburg Steering Committee. Additionally, she proudly graduated from Leadership Edinburg Class XXXIV, which united to successfully fundraise for the revitalization of the American Legion Post. Karla’s exemplary dedication and tireless work have undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the organizations she serves.

The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce congratulates this year’s award recipients for their outstanding dedication to the Edinburg community. Please consider joining us at our Annual Installation & Awards Banquet to honor our community leaders. Call (956) 383-4974 or email [email protected] for tickets or table reservations.