George P. Bush joins volunteers to pick up trash at South Padre Island

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Monica Cisneros remembers very well working with her Aunt Monica Vela when she was growing up.

Cisneros, 31, recalls her aunt saying, “Let’s go to the beach to clean it up.”

And that’s what they did every year with her cous-ins.

Yesterday, as Vela was honored for her work to improve the environment, thousands of volunteers carried on her tradition by participating in the 30th Texas General Land Office Adopt-A-Beach cleanup, from South Padre Island to Aransas Pass.

Nearly 400 people armed with trash bags took to the Island’s beaches after Land Commissioner George P. Bush dedicated the Cameron County park cleanup site on the Island in honor of Vela, who served as the site’s coordinator for 23 years.

Vela, a resident of Port Isabel, died at home last August.

“What a great Texan,” Bush said about Vela as he walked the beach picking up trash. “It’s not only a loss for her family, but it’s a loss for the state.”

She dedicated her life to her community and volun-teered in several capaci-ties, Bush said.

“She put a lot of hard work into cleaning up the beach,” Cisneros said. “It feels great to be doing our part, and it brings back a lot of memories.”

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