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Learn the history behind Matiana Ortiz Boulevard and where this street got its name from

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Posted at 4:57 PM, Mar 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-27 17:57:45-04

ROBSTOWN, Tx — Matiana Ortiz was a woman whose life not only made an impact in Robstown, but who also made in-roads for many across South Texas.

“She was very community minded,” Bobby Ortiz, Matiana’s son said.

Bobby said he remembers his mom always giving back to others around her.

“She did a lot for the city — for everybody, for the whole population of Robstown,” Bobby said.

Matiana had many accomplishments in her life, one of the main one was her work in the American GI Forum, a Latino veterans civil rights organization.

“She was all over the place, doing stuff for the Mexican American Organization, which was mostly for GI’s. They were left behind they couldn’t get their benefits; they couldn’t get anything because they didn’t pay attention to them,” Bobby said.

Matiana also helped nearly 2,000 kids by dedicating her time into helping and motivating kids in Robstown stay on the right path.

“She had a place, like an after school, where the kids could go to, instead of running around the street, and the ones that dropped out of school, she would lecture them and talk to them, and then she would send them so they could finish school,” Bobby said.

Matiana was also a volunteer project director at a center for Women’s in Community Services Program, or WICS.

With this program, Matiana traveled all over South Texas to help low income mothers receive benefits.

“We would drive to all different neighborhoods, to really poor neighborhoods and knocked on the doors, and she would talk to the girls and get them benefits to help them,” Bobby said. “It was very successful , and all of that was voluntary.”

Matiana was nominated for the Inaugural Class of the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, but because she had colon cancer she could not attend the event. She later died from that disease in 1984.

That same year, members of the American GI Forum asked the City of Robstown to change the name of the street she lived on from Buena Vista to Matiana Ortiz Boulevard, in her honor.

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Bobby said although many who might remember Matiana might not be around anymore, he will keep working to make sure future generations remember his mother for what she did in her community.

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