Vikki Carr and José Hernández to be Honored
with Medallions of Excellence on September 14

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Legendary Latin Vocalist Vikki Carr  

Four-time GRAMMY® winner and legendary star of the stage and screen Vikki Carr has captivated audiences nationally and abroad for over 50 years with her melodic voice.  The El Paso, Texas, native has performed for the Queen of England, five U.S. Presidents, and U.S. troops in Vietnam.

Respected as an artist and humanitarian, Carr’s commitment to education and leadership development for Latino youth extends throughout her career.  She established the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation in 1971, which offers scholarships to Latino students in Texas to pursue their dreams of a college education.  To date, the foundation has awarded more than 300 scholarships totaling over $250,000.  For nearly a quarter-century, Carr has performed benefit concerts to support Holy Cross High School in San Antonio.  Her philanthropic support extends beyond the Latino community to many health-related charities, several which benefit children and their families.  St Jude's Hospital, The United Way, The American Lung Association, The Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Cancer Therapy and Research Center are just a few organizations that Carr has supported.

Carr is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards that recognize her contributions to the Latino community—the 2005 National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2003 Latino Spirit Award, the 1998 Imagen Foundation Humanitarian Award, the 1984 Hispanic Woman of the Year, and the Los Angeles Times' highly respected "Woman of the Year" award in 1970, just to name a few. In 2000, she was inducted into the Latino Legends Hall of Fame.


NASA Astronaut José Hernández 

Engineer and astronaut José Hernández has been a lifelong advocate of Latino youth pursuing their dreams and offers his own success story as evidence that hard work and education offer lasting rewards. 

Hernández, who was a field laborer as a child, was the first person to use Spanish language in space through his tweets during the 2009 Space Shuttle mission STS-128.  He founded the Reaching for the Stars Foundation to provide scholarships to students pursuing careers in science and engineering.  His foundation mirrors the assistance he received as a student through the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program, which helps students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds attain degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields.

Through his science and engineering background, Hernández had another significant contribution; this time in the healthcare field.  He and a colleague developed the first full-field, digital mammography imaging system, which has long-term positive effects in aiding the early detection of breast cancer.

Hernández has spent his career giving back and has been recognized for his efforts by many organizations.  He served on the national board of Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) from 1996 to 2004, holding the position of president from 2002-2004.  In 1999, he was the recipient of MAES’ “Medalla de Oro” award for his professional and community contributions.  Hernández has also been honored with the 1995 Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award for “Outstanding Technical Contribution” and he received several NASA service awards.  He is also a strong advocate for immigration reform and recently accompanied President Obama to El Paso, Texas, to demonstrate his support of a new immigration policy.

Help CHCI Honor these Amazing Latinos on September 14
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