Posted Date: 09/28/2023
Family, friends and supporters of the man who was known for being fearless gathered in Rio Bravo on Wednesday for the dedication and naming of the Ricardo Molina Sr. Community Center.
The late Molina, who served on the United Independent School District School Board for 26 years and died late last year, was the face of Rio Bravo and El Cenizo, leaders at the dedication said.
Molina served at the center, helping families with everything from vouchers for school uniforms to assisting with food donations, as a Webb County employee for 30 years. He was beloved by many.
“He was a beautiful soul, very calm and passionate,” Webb County Commissioner Jesse Gonzalez said during the ceremony.
Even after his retirement due to health problems, Molina “remained part of Webb County until the last day,” Gonzalez added. “He’s watching from above. His service will live on forever. He was a big advocate for Rio Bravo and El Cenizo. His mindset never changed. He was always 100 percent for the community to the last day.”
Molina’s son Armando Molina also spoke, bringing home the service of a man who saw vast changes in the community he represented.
“My dad served here since 42 years ago when he started here,” Armando Molina said. “He was a citizen, a neighbor and a good community member who cultivated with the people and helped build this community to what it is now.”
Residing then in an area with few houses, Molina and his then wife, Teodora Isabel Fox, put up electricity, walls and made other improvements while she worked at the hospital. Residents would show up at the house for help.
“I can look everybody in the eye and say everything he asked for wasn’t for him - it was for the people of Rio Bravo and El Cenizo,” Armando Molina said.
At the dedication ceremony was the mariachi group from Ricardo Molina Middle School. They played “Cielito Lindo” while some family members quietly cried.
The honor of naming the community center after Molina follows other tributes that have been made to him.
In March, UISD gathered more than 200 friends and family to pay the ultimate district tribute by dedicating a school - the Ricardo Molina Middle School - in his name.
Molina even planned his own dedication ceremony before sadly passing away in December. He lost his life quietly in his Rio Bravo home after battling several health issues.
The Ricardo Molina Middle School opened its doors to 740 sixth, seventh and eighth graders in August of 2022.