Christmas in San Angelo consists of giving, loving, lights and of course, shucking tamales. For as long as many of us can remember, tamales have been a part of the excitement in the holiday season. We patiently wait for the time when we are able to place an order with our favorite tamale creator, who seems to come up with additional flavors every year. We are not always aware, but the husk that securely dresses the starchy delicious snack we yearn for can hold a special hidden story. Like the story of a young boy and his siblings growing up watching their mother and grandparents working hard at making dozens of tamales that were to be sold, so that their family could have a Christmas. He grew up remembering a time when he didn’t have anything to go under the Christmas tree, and that created a spark in his heart. It was then that he said to his uncle, “When I grow up, I’m going to do something to make sure no child will have to experience that.”

OsValdo Martinez is now a salesman at a local car dealership where he offers, what he calls, “Knock-Out deals.” He utilizes his experience as a professional boxer as a marketing gimmick, and with a ring name like, “Psycho Monster,” you’d want to ensure he’s in your corner. That spark in OsValdo as a child grew into a full out fire, and in 2002 he found himself in a position to begin his pursuit of providing children an experience during Christmas they’d never forget. Through collaboration and motivation from OsValdo’s uncle, Gordo, “In the Spirit of Christmas” was born, and OsValdo hit the streets connecting with the community to raise funds for his idea. He ran into struggles with speculation, but he never surrendered, and in time he found commitments from great people like Dr. Hinkle with KidSmiles and James Campbell of Robert Massie Funeral Home. Along with many other sponsors, the event became a reality, and soon the San Angelo Independent School District contributed with their role of screening for children in need.

“My advice to someone who’d like to make a difference to their community is: just start.  You gotta start somewhere.”

- Ozvaldo Martinez

–OsValdo Martinez

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“In the Spirit of Christmas” reaches its fourteenth year of production this Christmas and will give a wonderful experience to over 150 children and their families.  The event takes much planning and fundraising, starting as early as April and consisting of a Christmas dinner, games, entertainment and, of course, gifts being presented to each child.  This year, children can look forward to entertainment that includes a boxing challenge and listening to motivational speaker and professional boxer, Oscar “Lil Oscar” Cantu, speak about, “KO Drugs,” and much more.

“It is great to see all the excitement and happiness during this event.  It feels great to give back. For many of these kids, it’s one of the most exciting things to happen to them all year, “says OsValdo.

Christmas is a time most can see the best in each other, and OsValdo took the faith in his abilities and in the abilities of others, and combined them through a unified effort, “In the Spirit of Christmas.” Thank you Betty Reyes and Uncle Gordo for being the influence in that young boy’s life, which sparked a light to shine onto San Angelo; it’s a better place because of it.

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