Physician and pioneering activist Héctor P. García was once described as "a man who in the space of one week delivers twenty babies, twenty speeches, and twenty thousand votes." García served with distinction in World War II and, in 1946, opened a medical practice in Corpus Christi, where he witnessed the struggles of veterans and migrant workers. His work inspired a lifetime commitment to social reform.

In 1948, García founded the American GI Forum, organizing veterans to fight for educational and medical benefits, and later, against poll taxes and school segregation. In 1984, President Reagan awarded García the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. García was the first Mexican American ever to receive the honor. More»

Captain Héctor P. García during World War ll. Dr. Héctor P. García Papers, Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.