The port in the storm: Mario Ramirez, Hurricane Beulah, and the lower Rio Grande Valley
This historical analysis focuses on the Lower Rio Grande Valley, particularly Starr County. It reviewed thousands of pages of archival records, historical news reports, feature profiles, city, state, and federal government documents, interviews, videos, and academic examinations. This thesis borrows biographical, narrative, and borderlands history approaches to portray Dr. Mario E. Ramirez as a man who believed that he could make a difference in many Valley lives. It argues and demonstrates that he successfully and repeatedly realized that belief throughout the fields of medicine, politics, and education. The thesis examines 1967's Hurricane Beulah as a dramatic example of how Ramirez --who assumed a leadership role in the medical relief efforts on both sides of the Rio Grande -- utilized his community standing, his professional standing as a South Texas doctor, and his familiarity with a predominantly Mexican-American population to improve his Starr County community. The Beulah relief efforts enhanced his image as a role model, as a legitimate community voice, and as a state and national representative of Valley needs. Ramirez's political and professional achievements enabled him to guide thousands of Valley residents into medical careers. Many of them returned to the Valley, as he did, to care for their communities. His ambitions also made him a cornerstone of efforts to build and strengthen medical education and health care throughout South Texas.