From Left to Right: Jaime Fuentes, Matthew Gibson, Natalie Hernandez, Rochelle Gonzalez, Fernando Montemayor and Bobby Peregoy.
LAREDO, TX – The much-anticipated 124th Washington’s Birthday Celebration dates have been set for January 20 – February 27, 2022. Celebration planning is officially underway for the biggest Celebration to date, and under the guidance of Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA) President, Natalie Hernandez, who will continue to serve as president through 2022.
“WBCA is an organization made up of volunteers that have dedicated their time to improving the quality of life for the people of Laredo. These wonderful volunteers along with hard working staff and many generous sponsors make the Washington’s Birthday Celebration a spectacular festival drawing people from all over. I am honored and humbled to serve as president of this amazing organization,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez took the reins as the Association’s President last year and made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 Celebration for the first time in history, due to safety concerns and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. One year later, Hernandez is looking forward to brighter days ahead.
“We plan for the 124th Washington’s Birthday Celebration to be one for the books and will do our due diligence to keep our community safe in light of the current situation,” Hernandez said. “The safety and well-being of our attendees and everyone involved will always be our top priority.”
Natalie Hernandez is a native of Laredo. Her involvement with the WBCA began in 2000 as a volunteer for the IBC Youth Parade Under the Stars and Anheuser-Busch Washington’s Birthday Parade. Her
nandez is a graduate of Martin High School and graduated from the Bank Operations School at Southern Methodist University in 2004.
She was appointed to the WBCA Board of Directors as a Presidential Appointee in 2007 and elected to the Board of Directors in 2008. She has served as Chair/Co-Chair for the IBC Youth Parade Under the Stars, Anheuser-Busch Washington’s Birthday Parade, and the WBCA Stars & Stripes Air Show Spectacular. In addition, Hernandez received the WBCA President’s Merit Award in 2009 and the Matias De Llano Award in 2016.
Hernandez is a Vice President at Falcon Bank. She currently oversees the Online Banking and Call Center Department. Natalie has over 20 years of retail banking experience. Natalie considers herself blessed to have joined Falcon Bank and is grateful for their continued support since she joined WBCA.
In addition to her position at the bank and at the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association, Natalie has been involved in many civic organizations such as Boys and Girls Club of Laredo, Laredo Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Laredo. She served as President of the United of Laredo in 2018.
Apart from contributing to these organizations, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, jogging, and yoga. Natalie has been married to her husband, Art, for 22 years and they have two children, Kalen and Keven.
Fuentes will stay on the Executive Committee as Treasurer
Staying on as the WBCA Treasurer for the 124th Celebration is Jaime O. Fuentes.
His involvement with WBCA began in 2002 when he was asked to help volunteer at the Inaugural Jam for George Concert, a WBCA Affiliate event. He continued serving on that committee and with the Laredo Little Theatre thru the evolution to the now infamous Comedy Jam for George. In 2004, he joined the Board of Directors of the Jalapeño Festival when it was an affiliate event of WBCA.
He was appointed to the WBCA Board of Directors as a Presidential Appointee in 2005 by WBCA President Linda LaMantia and continued to serve as a Board Member through 2012. Jaime served as Chair/Co-Chair on events such as WBCA Stars & Stripes Air Show Spectacular Sponsored by Miller Lite, Anheuser-Busch Washington’s Birthday Parade and the IBC Youth Parade Under the Stars. He took a hiatus from WBCA in 2012 and rejoined as a WBCA Development Team Member in 2016 and was re-elected to the Board of Directors in 2017. In his current tenure as a WBCA Board Member he has served in the H-E-B Fireworks Extravaganza, Dual Parades and was Chair of the 2020 Jalapeño Festival Sponsored by La Costeña, which broke records in both attendance and ticket sales. In addition, Fuentes received the prestigious WBCA President’s Merit Award in 2020.
He is married to his beautiful wife Claudia G. Fuentes and have been happily married since 2012. Together they welcomed two children Roberto Joaquin in 2014 and Liliana Judith in 2018. Jaime enjoys spending time with his family and friends, especially when its NFL season. He is also a self-proclaimed concert junkie and is fortunate his wife tolerates his many excursions to see U2 and Dave Mathews Band over the years. Jaime is the son of the late Oscar (deceased) and Graciela Fuentes, who fortunately accepted a job transfer to Laredo in 1986, thus making his family proud Laredoans.
Jaime considers himself very fortunate to have joined the Arguindegui Companies family in 2008, where he has served in many capacities over his 13-year career and is currently the Customer Service Manager for Arguindegui Oil. “I really want to thank my Arguindegui family for the support they provide that allows me the time to participate in all of my WBCA commitments. I attribute many of the leadership skills that I use for my WBCA committees on the values I’ve learned from everyone here.”
Last year’s newly appointed Board of Directors and Presidential Appointees will also continue to serve through 2022. The WBCA board is made up of leaders and professionals from the community. Elected board members typically serve three-year terms and volunteer countless hours of their own time to make all of the annual events a success; however they too will stay on for an extra year due to the pandemic.
The Executive Committee members for the 124th Celebration are:
Natalie Hernandez, WBCA President
Matthew Gibson, WBCA President-Elect
Rochelle V. Gonzalez, WBCA 1st Vice-President
Fernando R. Montemayor, Jr., WBCA 2nd Vice-President
(IBC Investment Services)
Jaime O. Fuentes, WBCA Treasurer
Bobby Peregoy, WBCA Ex-Officio (Immediate Past President)
(Webb County Appraisal District)
The 2021 – 2022 Board of Directors include:
Bryon “Andy” Alford – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
AnnaIsabel Alvarez – WBC Museum
Amelia E. Bravo – BBVA
Anita Cavazos Reuthinger – Community Leader
Rosa Cruz – BBVA
Jose Eduardo “Pepe” Garcia – Modern Construction, Inc.
David Garza – Print Xpress
Olga Gentry – St. Augustine High School
Jesse Gonzalez – Keller Williams Laredo
Emmanuel Guajardo – Cresta Advisors
Chris Haynes – WH Mortgage Solutions & Haynes Properties
Anabella R. Herbig – State Farm Insurance
Avery G. Jackson -Texas Community Bank
Jerry Lara – Enterprise Holdings
Claudio Lerma – Clarian Investments Inc.
Monica Lopez – Texas Community Bank
Reagan M. Macdonald – Texas Community Bank
Edward F. Maddox – Benavides Maddox, P.C.
Michael A. Marasco – McDonald’s of Laredo
Rafael A. Martinez – Laredo Federal Credit Union
Norma Moore – Community Leader
Pete Morales, IV – Webb County District Attorney Office
Vanessa Palumbo – Laredo Independent School District
David Ramos – IBC Bank
Minnie Dora Haynes Rodriguez – Rancho Colorado
Dr. Albert Salinas – Community Leader
Gloria “Terry” Salinas – Laredo College
Fred Santos, IV – Santos Consulting International
Cordelia L. Valdez – Webb County Judge’s Office
Javier C. Villarreal – Gateway Community Health Center
Nydia Weathers – Gentle Family Dentistry
Lupita Zepeda – Office of State Representative Tracy King
Lisa Zuñiga – Zuniga Enterprises
The 2021 – 2022 Presidential Appointees are:
Gilbert Bermea – Community Leader
Cristina Cabrera – Community Leader
Dario Gutierrez – Gateway Mortgage
Abner “AB” Miranda – Community Leader
Marcos Sepulveda – Sepulveda Associates Architects
The Washington’s Birthday Celebration, founded in 1898, is the largest Celebration of its kind in the United States. Throughout the years, the Celebration has grown to be over a month long and consists of parades, dazzling pageants, fireworks, a carnival, an air show, a sizzling Jalapeño Festival and much more. Combined, WBCA events attract nearly 500,000 residents and visitors, and yearly contributes an estimated $14 million to the local economy. The Washington’s Birthday Celebration recently won the Zenith Award, the highest and most prestigious award, at the TFEA Marketing Awards. Stay up to date with all our events by visiting our website at wbcalaredo.org. You can also stay up to date, win ticket giveaways and other prizes by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or by downloading our new App for iPhone and Android devices.
For additional information visit wbcalaredo.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, contact the WBCA office at (956) 722-0589, or visit 1819 E. Hillside Road in Laredo, TX.