Community Activists Honored by LULAC

Community service and activism has been Josie Montoya's life since she started volunteering for her church at age 16.

"It's a way of life for me," said Montoya, 57, born and reared in Anaheim. "I learned from my father. He always gave people a hand up--he gave whatever he could. He had 10 children, and we were a poor family. But he always had the time and resources to help others. I learned that we are our brothers' keepers."

Montoya and Benny A. Diaz Jr. have been honored by the California League of United Latin American Citizens for their community contributions. Montoya was named Woman of the Year and Diaz, Man of the Year, for both the Orange County district and the state.

They will be recognized at a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. today at the Unitarian Church of Orange County, 511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim. The reception is open to the public.

"They really epitomize what LULAC is all about: community involvement, human rights and working with people to make a difference," said Susie Flores, the organization's deputy state director for women.

Montoya is a co-founder of United Neighborhoods, an Anaheim-based activist group that is now a LULAC chapter. Her achievements include helping organize a food distribution program for needy families in Jeffrey-Lynne, a poor neighborhood next to Disneyland.

Diaz, 40, of Garden Grove, is described as "dynamic and enthusiastic" and is credited for putting the California LULAC on the World Wide Web. He also is treasurer for LULAC's Santa Ana chapter and Orange County district.

Information on the reception: (714) 758-1050.

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