Happy 25th Anniversary, Hortencia!

Published October 27, 2021 by SMBC

Hortencia Gutierrez has served the children at South Main lovingly for the past twenty-five years. As we celebrate this anniversary milestone with her, we sat down to learn more about her life outside of South Main, how she came to be here, and her experience in the Family Ministry.

Hortencia was born in Puebla, Mexico and at 15 years old, her family moved to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She completed her education and graduated from nursing school. That's also where she met her husband, Roberto and they decided to move to Houston to join his family. They have now been married for 43 years and have three children - Michele, Melissa, and Roberto Jr. Over the years, they've been blessed with six beautiful grandchildren - Melina 16, David Jr. 10, Maya 7, Daniel Lucas 6, and twin girls Mila and Ava 18 months.

Prior to working at South Main, Hortencia was a stay at home mother for many years. She found an opportunity to work part time at an afterschool program in the elementary school where her children attended. While there, she met a teacher at South Main Baptist Church who mentioned the church was looking to hire childcare workers. She interviewed with Susan Moore and we've all reaped the blessings of Ms. Hortencia ever since (Thank you, Susan)!

Hortencia began working just one day a week for SMILE childcare and very quickly was asked to join the Sunday nursery staff as well. For the first 16 years, Hortencia served in the nursery alongside many church volunteers she recalled fondly such as Jeannette King, Edith George, Kim Randolph, Addie Carpenter, and Debbie Downing. She also feels blessed to have formed friendships with former childcare workers whom you might remember, such as Ms. Ramona, Ms. Carmela, Ms. Rita, Ms. Elena, and Ms. Aida, among others. In 2005, Hortencia moved over to the preschool area where she remains a calming presence for our two & three year old children to this day.

We chatted about the different memories throughout the years and I asked her to share a few:

One that stood out was the anxious feeling about speaking English as a second language. However, she recalls that everyone around her, from the church volunteers, coworkers, parents, and children, always supported her and made her feel understood which gave her confidence.

Hortencia is most grateful for the opportunity she's had to work hours that allow her to dedicate the time needed to her own family, too.

While she is not one to tout her accomplishments, I asked her to share a couple of which she is most pleased. Hortencia shared that she prides herself on being able to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive one. She feels the most accomplished when parents trust her to take care of their children and leave feeling at peace. She is also proud of earning her coworker's respect, despite any age differences and that her supervisors can count on her dependability. Hortencia feels very blessed to be working for the church and shared that ?When I walk into the Welcome Center, I feel at peace and I feel important. God willing, and if my health permits, I would like to continue to work and contribute for more years to come.?

We feel the same way, Ms. Hortencia!