Heritage connects Brooklyn man to local community, Puerto Rico

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A Brooklyn man uses his Puerto Rican heritage to connect to his local community in a whole new way by helping make an impact in both places.

Hector Gonzalez served in Vietnam and never really ended his service work.

"I always extend my arms when it's needed," says Gonzalez. 

Thirteen years ago, Gonzalez's daughter had the idea to bring a parade to Brooklyn.

"People were asking why do we have to go to the Bronx, we have to go to Manhattan and why don't we have our own festival here on 24th Street?" he says.

So Gonzalez brought the Puerto Rican Day Festival to Williamsburg and the 24th Street Festival to Greenwood Heights.

"When you come, it doesn't matter where you come from," says Gonzalez. "You come and you work and you represent yourself. Culture is very important."

Two years ago after Maria and Irma devastated Puerto Rico, Gonzalez and his team collected supplies through local drives.

"That was something that a lot of people came to me and said, 'Wow, that's so wonderful,' and I said, 'well, it is wonderful because I do it for the community and not for myself.'"

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