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Commissioners Court recognizes Pride Month, commemorates local army private

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Star file photo

During its June 18 meeting, the Hays County Commissioners Court adopted a proclamation recognizing June 2024 as LGBTQIA+ Pride Month.

According to the proclamation, Hays County recognized “the importance of freedom and equality and is dedicated to fostering acceptance of all of its residences and preventing discrimination and mistreatment based on sexual orientation or general identity.”

Commissioner Michelle Cohen said she supports the LGBTQ community and will do anything in her power to uplift them.

“I will always advocate for marginalized communities in Hays County and I believe love is love,” Commissioner Michelle Cohen said.

Department Manager of the Hays County Health Department Matthew Gonzalez said pride is celebrated to honor the 1969 Stonewall Riots that happened as a response to political harassment and persecution of the LGBTQ community.

“Celebrating pride is more than just a month-long festivity,” Gonzalez said. “It is a power affirmation of our existence, our resilience, and our contribution to society.”

The Hays County Commissioners Court also adopted a proclamation commemorating the 18th anniversary of the death of U.S. Army Private First Class (PFC) Kristian Menchaca. June 16 marked the 18th anniversary of Menchaca’s death.

Before enlisting in the army, Menchaca was an avid member of the community. He furthered his education by attending the Gary Job Corps Center in San Marcos and volunteered at local events, including the Sights and Sounds of Christmas.

“When anything happens in our community, you will see entire droves of people drop everything they are doing to serve one another,” Cohen said. “I’m grateful you are giving us the chance to honor someone who did just what you said. They have given up the ultimate sacrifice. I know we are all grateful for that.”

In 2006, Menchaca was killed following an insurgent attack on a U.S. Army checkpoint south of Baghdad, Iraq and was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals.

In 2019, Hays County designated a portion of State Highway 21 PFC Kristian Menchaca Memorial Highway.

“Thank you… everyone involved in the project to name a portion of Highway 21 in his honor,” Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe said. “It was a pleasure to work on part of that with you. I just appreciate keeping the memory alive and doing what y’all are doing.”

The Hays County Commissioners Court 9 a.m on select Tuesdays each month. For more information, visit its website.

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