Heritage connects Brooklyn man to local community, Puerto Rico

Posted: Updated:

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.'"

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."