Weslaco Area Chamber Honors Residents


Weslaco Area Chamber Honors Residents

Weslaco Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Barbara Garza, Velma Hirlas of Peter Piper Pizza, Luis Reyes, Mary Mattar, Carla McCaleb, Joe Vidales and Emiliano Montenegro. (photo Weslaco Area Chamber of Commerce)

The Weslaco Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual membership and awards luncheon Oct. 30 at the Knapp Medical Conference Center. Chamber recognitions included Man, Woman and Business of the Year, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award. Also receiving recognition were Volunteer and Board Member of the Year recipients.

Man of the Year

The 2019 Man of the Year is Joe Vidales, Weslaco’s resident expert historian. Vidales has been a volunteer at the Weslaco Museum for around 10 years. His service includes stepping in as interim director when the museum board was searching for a full-time director. By profession, Vidales was a psychology professor and counselor at Washington State for 17 years. Upon retirement, he returned to his home town of Weslaco. Vidales is always ready to share his vast knowledge about Weslaco and the RGV. Earlier this year, he was interviewed in a spotlight on Weslaco in Texas Highways magazine.

Woman of the Year

Carla McCaleb, owner of McCaleb Funeral Home, is the 2019 Woman of the Year. McCaleb serves on the chamber board of directors and has been a Red Coat Ambassador for many years. She served on several committees as an active member of the First United Methodist Church and has served on the advisory board for the Better Business Bureau. McCaleb currently serves as president of the Literary Review, but she’s most passionate about the business and community she currently works in: grieving families. As owner of McCaleb Funeral Home, McCaleb has run a community grief support group for the past five years that meets on the first Thursday of every month. She also assists with the Grief Share Ministry at First Baptist Church that meets every Monday.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award goes to lifelong Weslaco resident Mary Mattar. A veteran business woman, Mattar owned and operated The Fabric Fair in downtown Weslaco. She believed in workforce education and worked with the high school distributive education program since it began. Mattar also passed along her business knowledge teaching typing, shorthand and business courses at a Weslaco veteran’s vocational school. She also served as a director of the Weslaco Chamber of Commerce. Mattar has been a faithful volunteer at the Weslaco Museum and continues to do so every Wednesday. In addition, she also serves as vice president of the Museum Guild. Mattar has been a choir member at the First Presbyterian Church of Weslaco for more than 50 years.

Business of the Year

Business of the Year 2019 went to Peter Piper Pizza of Weslaco. Their charitable and community-minded works extend well into the community and the entire Rio Grande Valley as a whole. Peter Piper Pizza is a champion for education and is heavily involved with the local schools, donating dictionaries to schools throughout the Mid Valley, and providing coupons to teachers for students with perfect attendance and good grades as part of their Partners in Education initiative. Every year, Peter Piper Pizza partners with KRGV to hold a canned food drive in all the local schools. The class that collects the most cans wins a pizza party by Peter Piper Pizza. In addition, Peter Piper Pizza provides free refill mugs for their senior citizen customers, as well as working with local RV parks in the area.

Additional honorees included Volunteer of the Year Emiliano Montenegro and Chamber Board Member of the Year Luis Reyes. Retiring board members included Mari Aviles, Johnny Bautista and Gene Vaughan.