By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

Raul Villaronga said the League of United Latin American Citizens Council 4535, of which he serves as chairman of the board of directors, started with empty hands.

To the benefit of the youth in the community which the organization serves, Thursday proved their hands are no longer empty.

The Killeen LULAC foundation held its annual "Muchas Gracias" banquet at the Plaza Hotel Thursday night to thank the Killeen contributers and benefactors who have donated to the organization in the past year.

"All of you make a difference. We have granted $39,000 in scholarships and expanded," Villaronga said Thursday night as he addressed the crowd of contributers. "We're dedicated to improving the lives of the Hispanic community in the area. The biggest portion of our budget is in the scholarship. We look to see how that scholarship is going to make a difference to them. And at least half the recipients enroll in Central Texas College."

Villaronga especially thanked the top contributer to the organization, the city of Killeen and its arts commission, which provided the group with a grant to expand the cultural capabilities for the organization, allowing for more LULAC-themed events.

Villaronga said that the contribution by the city has in part allowed the organization to expand its scholarships this year to include continuing education, particularly at CTC and Tarleton State.

"We have been blessed by a great community, and we have granted over $39,000 in scholarships this year," he said. "This year, we've expanded our scholarships behind high schools and into continuing education."

The major contributors to LULAC of Killeen included:

The city of Killeen/Arts Commission, The Killeen Auto Brokers, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Tarleton State University, Guerrero and Associates, Dr. Ted Andreas, Command Sgt. Maj. (ret.) Eddie Velez, Wal-Mart of Copperas Cove and Wal-Mart of Killeen.

Contact Justin Cox at or call (254) 501-7568

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