Minerva Trujillo spent more than three decades working as an educator for the youth in Killeen. She retired four years ago, but continues to sit on the board of the Killeen Independent School District. She said she never anticipated receiving any special recognition for her service, but Saturday night she received just that.

Trujillo was among 25 government and business leaders honored by the Killeen National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Youth Council during the organization’s second annual banquet. More than 100 people attended the celebration Saturday night at the Killeen Community Center.

“I had just done what I’ve been able to do, and it’s a great honor,” said Trujillo, a former Willow Springs principal who helped open Maxdale Elementary and Audie Murphy Middle schools.

She sits on the board of the housing authority, as well as the board development Committee for the Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

The banquet was part of a six-week NAACP Youth Council program called the “Youth Eyes on Killeen.” The project aimed to reflect on the blessings the city has today, while looking at the past.

“It’s a special theme, and we are recognizing some of our supporters that supported the youth from the beginning,” youth adviser Geraldine Lorio said.

Honorees were recognized in three categories: top 25 outstanding leaders; a support category that represented organizations and community volunteers; and recognition for individuals who continually provide support for positive youth programs in Killeen, Lorio said.

Youth Council President Aaliyah Poe, 18, oversees more than 30 active members who range in age from 3 to 18. Although she’s only been with the NAACP for the 18 months, she said she was ready to hit the ground running in making the project a reality, but she admitted it wasn’t easy.

“A lot of preparations and work, plenty of sleepless nights, and a lot of help from other people,” Poe said, explaining how she worked to make the banquet enjoyable for the members and honorees. Poe introduced each honoree, as a younger member presented the honoree with a T-shirt and certificate.

Rosa Hereford, a former Killeen City Council member, was the first woman elected to the council in 1984. She said she held office for 12 years.

“I was shocked,” she said, after she learned she was an honoree. “When you are a community advocate and you just serve in the community, you don’t look for people honoring you, you just do what you know is right and hope that you help people along the way.”

Hereford also was recognized for being an educator. She said she chaired the 1990 Killeen census, worked with the Killeen Housing Authority, served as an ambassador for the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce and currently sits on the city’s civilian board of appeals.

“If everybody did something small to help your community, then things would be a whole lot better,” Hereford said.

Lorio said the youth will continue identifying and honoring outstanding leaders, role models and people who care about Killeen.

Following the youths’ skit presentation to the honorees, members put on a fashion show, flaunting their favorite clothing line for the banquet participants.

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