By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition February 2020.
It is a tradition, for the City of Mission to strengthen the relationship with our brothers in Mexico. They have added the City of Fortin de las Flores from the State of Veracruz as the 26th Sister City.
Every year without fail, the City of Mission and dedicated citizens reach out and bring new friends for Mission and Region. This year, U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar acted as the keynote speaker and Texas Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa was the 2020 Parade Marshal.
Multiple delegations from Mexico took part in this historic tradition that witnessed the City of Mission signing a sister city agreement with Fortin de las Flores, Veracruz. The signing took place at the Mayor’s International Brunch on January 25, 2020 at the Mission Event Center.
Mayor Dr. Armando O’Caña said, “Together, Mission and Fortin will strive to promote cultural exchanges, and stimulate economic development through our newest sister city relationship.” He continued, “We look forward to this new beginning. This agreement goes beyond a declaration on paper. It truly speaks to a historic connection and genuine ties with our friends across the border.”
On December 11, 2019, the City of Mission Fire Department donated a fire truck to Fortin de las Flores’ Mayor Antonio Mansur. The International Mayor’s Brunch goes back about 50 years; it gives a unique opportunity to celebrate friendships, to pay tribute to the citrus industry and also to honor the city’s long and distinguished history.
The presence of Mission ranking officials like the Mayor and city commissioners gave the event a high-level profile. They worked hard to get this one-of-a-kind program. The Mission Chamber of Commerce was also present, they have a lot to do promoting more business for local establishments.
Mayor O’Caña proceeded with his eloquent speech.
“Good morning everyone, on behalf of our citizens, and our Mission City Council – I am honored to welcome you to our All-America City of Mission. This important day has been a city tradition since the mid-1970’s.
Today we are here for the Mayor’s brunch, but also for a celebration of our culture, our legacy, and our heritage – the Texas Citrus Fiesta. This International Brunch – officially kicks off the festivities today. It’s a unique opportunity for us to highlight the citrus industry – and its critical importance to the history of our community.
The citrus industry was and ‘is’ the foundation of Mission. It’s truly inspirational; what once began as a few orchards has now grown into part of Mission’s rich heritage. In this room – I see a blend of extraordinary community leaders, elected officials, international dignitaries, and state lawmakers. I feel privileged to be here with all of you – and I’m honored to welcome our sister cities, our international delegations who have always supported the great City of Mission. We thank you for coming to our grand city – where we are known for having world-class recreational amenities, abundant shopping, and the finest first responders.
We’re a hot spot for dining, have first-rate medical service, and we’re experiencing booming growth, all of which truly make Mission a great place to live, work, play, raise a family, and do business. We are also a magnet for new residents in exclusive residential areas. Just last month, we announced the purchase of the Sharyland Plantation – Killam Development acquired thousands of acres of land from Hunt Valley. The Laredo-based company intends to turn the site into a master-planned community. Construction will begin soon, with home sales anticipated by this fall. It will be a game-changer for Mission and the entire Rio Grande Valley, and we could not be more excited!
Another game-changer? The proposed Mission/Madero-Reynosa International Bridge; movement is underway to bring this project to fruition. Clearly, with all of that – we could not prosper without you – our southern neighbors and for that we thank you. You help our local economy to flourish and succeed. And to our citrus growers – the backbone of this city – we thank you for helping to showcase our community and making us ‘The Place to be.’
We ask that all of you join us for our Texas Citrus Fiesta festivities – this historic event is second to none. 83-years running! Thank you all, and again welcome to the annual Mission Mayor’s International Brunch!”
According to Aida Lerma, deputy city manager, the brunch signing with Fortin de las Flores became one of the largest celebrations of this kind in the City of Mission.