J.J. Sanchez, the president of the Walter Gonzales Foundation, was the guest speaker at the Taylor Lions Club Friday, Sept. 29 at Sirloin Stockade, and he spoke to the Lions about Walter Gonzales, the Foundation and the upcoming Tournament. The tournament is scheduled for Oct. 19 at the SPJST Hall, 5025 FM 619 in Taylor.
Walter Gonzales was born in San Antonio and moved to Taylor where he originally worked as a painter. When in his 40s, Walter was diagnosed with a degenerative, hereditary eye disease. He lost his driver’s license and could no longer paint. To make ends meet, he opened the family taco stand.
Gonzales was a giving person. Although his family had very little, he gladly shared what they had to help others. He instilled this desire to help others into his children. The family later created the Walter Gonzales Foundation as a legacy to their father and grandfather.
“We are still just a family trying to make a difference in the lives of other people,” Sanchez said.
The Walter Gonzales Foundation hosts an annual Horseshoe and Washer Tournament as a memorial to Walter and to raise money for the Lions Leader Dog Program. Gonzales was blind and highly appreciated the work of the Lions Club for those with sight problems.
Working with the Taylor Lions over the past 20 years, more than $100,000 has been contributed to the Leader Dog Program.
Sanchez thanked the Taylor Lions for their support of the event, and especially for funding the big circus-size tent where the event is held.
The Foundation needs local contestants for both horseshoes and washers. Registration will be Saturday, Oct. 19 from 8 to 10 a.m. with a $20 fee per team. Play will begin as each bracket fills. Registration fees go toward the cash prizes for the first, second and third place teams in each bracket. Contestants should bring their own horseshoes. Washers will be provided.
The washer tournament begins when the horseshoe tournament ends. Food and refreshments will be sold.
Sanchez encouraged all Lions and the Taylor Community to come and enjoy the event.