Author Archives: Chris Ardis

Chris Ardis is a retired teacher. She is a freelance writer, editor, and social media manager and works with Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill to help schools and nonprofit organizations raise money. Chris is also an education blogger, and you can her blog at the link below. You can reach her at cardis1022@aol.com.

Villas Offer New Housing Concept With Technology

Various elevations demonstrate how future residents of Villas on Freddy can customize their homes. (Courtesy)

Twenty-seven-year-old Nick Rhodes, the president of Esperanza Homes, moved to the Rio Grande Valley six years ago. Two years later, he applied for Leadership McAllen Class 36 and was selected. Throughout the course of the year, Rhodes and his Leadership-McAllen classmates learned about the multi-faceted city from both a historical and present-day perspective while also learning about each other.  “Many in our group, some single and some married with no…

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From Restaurant Cook to Patient Care

Juan de la Rosa

Juan de la Rosa of Donna was working as a cook at Longhorn Steakhouse when he decided to pursue a career in a high-demand field where he could earn more money while helping people. He decided to enroll at South Texas College in the Patient Care Technician Program. In this program, de la Rosa knew he would also be taught entry-level skills in phlebotomy, EKG and monitor technician. While enrolling…

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Former Officer Finds New Life In Business

Though they appear to be common household items, each of these is actually a diversion safe.

Ric Tamez moved back home to McAllen in the early 1980s after working for Kroger in Corpus Christi. He soon realized he should have secured a job before returning.  “I was young and stupid, and before long, I was desperate,” Tamez said.  He moved back in with his parents with only $200 to his name when he received a job offer to work as a teller at Texas State Bank. That…

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Army Vet Feels Secure on Path to Success

Bardo Rubio

When Bardo Rubio completed his commitment to the U.S. Army, he enlisted in the Army Reserve. He knew he would need to do more than work one weekend a month to achieve his life goals. During the summer of 2018, shortly after he returned from active duty, Rubio encountered two Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement employees promoting the agency’s services at South Texas College. Rubio, who wanted to go…

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Angels Among Us

Cristina Guerra Seal and one of her best friends since kindergarten, Erica Villareal Ellis, at the 2019 Susan Komen Race for the Cure in San Antonio.

People across the Rio Grande Valley came out in full force 22 years ago to support Monica Montanaro, a senior at McAllen Memorial High School.  Monica was fighting osteosarcoma (bone cancer). A group of Monica’s classmates became known as Monica’s Angels when they worked with Rosemary Treviño, a local angel-pin designer, to create a “Monica” angel. People lined up on Dec. 18, 1998, Monica’s 18th birthday, for the first Monica’s…

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Financial Stability Offers Cindy Monge a New VIDA

Cindy Monge, VIDA

Working in sales provided Cindy Monge with a job but not with financial stability. She established a long-term goal of earning a bachelor’s degree in perfusion science. As a perfusionist, Monge would run the cardiopulmonary-bypass machine during open-heart surgery, allowing the heart to be still for the surgeon while the machine performs its job, maintaining blood flow to the body’s tissues. Monge also established a short-term goal that would align…

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Long Overdue: Specialist Seeing Patients in McAllen

Dr. Alejandro Cruz uses a model of the brain to discuss how lesions form in patients with multiple sclerosis.

The MS community in the Rio Grande Valley is abuzz with the news of a new doctor in town. Multiple sclerosis is an immune-mediated disease of the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. It causes the immune system to attack the myelin, or protective sheath, around nerve fibers. This makes it difficult for the brain to properly communicate with the rest of the body. As nerves…

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A Mother’s Guide to Empowering Her Daughter

Vyktoria Olivares and her daughter

At the age of 18, instead of being consumed with thoughts of college dorms and freedom, Vyktoria Olivares’ thoughts focused on her infant daughter. How she would raise her alone while pursuing her goal of being the first in her family to graduate from college? She knew she had to leave the pain of the past behind. She had to focus on what she could do in the present to…

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Mental Health Gaining In Building Wellness

Members of the Hidalgo County Mental Health Coalition pose for a picture in 2019.

The words of Dr. John Krouse, dean of the UTRGV Medical School, became the headline of a story in the July issue of Valley Business Report. Addressing the high incidence of obesity, diabetes and heart and lung disease in the Rio Grande Valley, Krouse stressed that we need to “build a culture of health.” When addressing physical health, the tendency is to focus on nutrition and fitness, which are undeniably…

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Removing Roadblocks Among Stepping Stones

Gabriel Villasenor

Grabiel Villasenor worked at a tire shop for four years before taking his first steps toward a career in health care. Feeling the pull to go a different route, he decided to return to school to study patient care. Working as a certified nursing assistant at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance was a stepping stone for Villasenor. It was not a final destination. Even then, Villasenor had his sights set on…

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