Daily Point of Light # 2187 Jun 21, 2002

Allen Baca was born in Orange Grove, Texas. He is a World War II Veteran, married in 1945, lived in Corpus Christi, Texas and had three daughters and two sons. He worked as a cabinet wood worker about 10 years. During that same time, he also published a newspaper for the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi and went back to school and received a degree in Criminology and Corrections. He then worked with the Probation Departments of Corpus Christi, Karnes City, Houston, and Austin.

After working with the Probation Department, Baca realized that one of the reasons people had so much trouble with the law was their literacy problems. He realized this and while working as a District Supervisor, he worked with probationers encouraging them to earn the GED. Baca volunteered weekends for 16 years with the Bell County Jail’s GED Program.

From 1980 to 1993, Baca also worked with the Department of Aging. The Public Information Director said that Baca wanted to serve his fellow man, and he was always looking for ways to do a job better. One enhancement that was suggested by Baca was using a bar code as opposed to a lot of paper for tracking. That was thought to be unworkable in the 1980’s, but it did.

Baca started a GED Program for seniors, which in turn birthed a senior literacy program. With grants from private foundations, nearly 100 senior centers had programs. This provided the people with the means for a better job or to gain their citizenship after living in the United States for years. As a result of this literacy program, several senior centers around the state participated in the first Senior Spelling Bee.

While he worked with the Department of Community Affairs, he was appointed to find ways to expand the resources of senior programs. He developed a manual “Project Bootstrap” which provided information on setting up fundraising activities and foundations. He is aware that foundations offer people an incentive to give because they can see what their money is doing.

Moreover, Baca was responsible for starting Grandparent’s Day in Texas. He convinced former Governor Mark White to declare a special day to honor the mature residents who had helped to make Texas what it is today. He also helped begin “Project Daffodil.” This program attracts sightseers in Texas to the Round Rock area during the spring when the flowers are in bloom.

Though Allen Baca is retired, he is still volunteering his time. Currently he is working with House Bill 514 that will allow the Tiguas and two other tribes to have gaming operations on existing reservations. He is still living by his motto,” all it really takes is a little imagination and a lot of determination.”