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Mike Blum Reflects on the 15th Anniversary of McAllen Heritage Center

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Mike Blum, former Public Utility Board member and local community advocate, marvels at McAllen's rich history, commemorated within the walls of the McAllen Heritage Center, and emphasizes the importance of preserving such architectural treasures for future generations. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
Mike Blum, former Public Utility Board member and local community advocate, marvels at McAllen’s rich history, commemorated within the walls of the McAllen Heritage Center, and emphasizes the importance of preserving such architectural treasures for future generations. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

Texas Border Business

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By Roberto Hugo González

On June 16, 2023, Mike Blum, a long-standing public servant and community figure, attended the McAllen Heritage Center’s 15th Anniversary celebration. His attendance was not in any official capacity but as an enthusiastic and supportive community member.

Blum has had a distinguished career in public service, having served on the Public Utility Board (PUB) for 16 years, with a hiatus from 1999 to 2022. In 2022, when Tony Aguirre ran for the City Commission, leaving a vacancy at the PUB, Blum returned for a short but significant 90-day tenure. When asked about his dedication to public service, Blum simply stated, “I’m available when they call me.”

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The McAllen Heritage Center, celebrating its 15th anniversary, was a topic of interest. Blum enthusiastically shared his thoughts on the museum and the heritage it preserves. He lauded the establishment as a “spectacular exhibit of the history of McAllen” and admired its transformation from a post office to a public space. He credited Larry Fallek, a former store owner on Main Street, for his instrumental role in this transition.

Blum admitted to spending 20 minutes wandering through the museum, soaking in the extraordinary collection it houses. The exhibits that had left a profound impact on him included detailed histories from the early days of McAllen through the nineties, wars, and the city’s war veterans’ memorabilia. The comprehensive history, including the heart-rending tales of those who served but didn’t make it back, such as Jack Wetzel, a former mayor’s son and a Vietnam casualty, deeply moved Blum.

Despite the richness and diversity of the museum’s collection, Blum acknowledged a significant challenge – a lack of space for the growing number of artifacts. He saw the plans for a proposed extension to the building and was hopeful of its realization. “There’s a demand, and I suspect at some point in time it’ll happen,” he optimistically remarked.

Blum’s reflections on the McAllen Heritage Center highlight the crucial role such establishments play in preserving a city’s history and heritage. The desire to protect and showcase this legacy is clear, and with support from community figures like Mike Blum, the future of the McAllen Heritage Center appears promising.

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