Florentino “Tino” Gonzalez was known for his upbeat attitude and extensive community service. He died in January at his island home of complications from brain cancer. He was 59.
It struck those of us at The Daily News who knew Tino as a shame that the paper had never named him among its Everyday Heroes, an honor the paper bestows on about 10 people each year based on nominations from readers.
That he was overlooked was perhaps not surprising, because Tino Gonzalez was the sort of person who went about his good works with quiet, self-effacing good cheer. He did what he did, which was a lot, without a lot of fanfare.
To set matters right, as much as possible, The Daily News staff has nominated and named Florentino “Tino” Gonzalez as an Everyday Hero for 2019. His award marks the first time the title has been awarded posthumously.
Here’s a recounting of his service and some of what those who knew him best remembered about Tino Gonzalez, the community servant:
“Tino was a true community champion,” said Julie Purser, executive director of Family Service Center of Galveston County on whose board Gonzalez served.
“He’s the kindest, gentlest and most gracious man I know, and he really lived the spirit of what being a community champion is, supporting communities and strengthening families,” Purser said. “That’s Tino in a nutshell.”
Gonzalez had graduated from Galveston College with a degree in science and business and went on to work for the University of Texas Medical Branch.
“Tino represented the very best of our community,” said Dr. David Callender, president of the medical branch. “He was always there for others with his time and his good humor, and that legacy will be long-remembered.”
Gonzalez also served The Children’s Center as vice president and director of human resources, then worked at Moody Bank as vice president for business development. He was instrumental in the launch of Sea Star Base Galveston, serving as its first executive director.
Gonzalez had served as a Galveston Housing Authority commissioner, a United Way of Galveston County board member and on numerous other committees and organizations.
He served for more than 20 years on the board of regents of Galveston College.
“Tino was a remarkable individual, a compassionate, passionate and vibrant leader who devoted his entire life to education, business and public service,” Myles Shelton, president of the college, said.
“His efforts have propelled Galveston College on a path toward excellence. He had a profound and positive impact on the many lives he touched. He will leave a lasting legacy for our students, our college and Galveston Island.”