2013 Inductee - Maria Delores Herrera

2013 Inductee - Maria Delores Herrera


Maria was born August 27, 1959 to Encarnacion and Heriberto Altamirano in Ixtlan Del Rio, Nayarit, Mexico. Her father was a farm laborer and her mother worked at home caring for Maria and her six younger brothers and three sisters.

In search of a brighter future for his family, her father brought his family to the United States when Maria was nine years old. Maria’s parents instilled in her strong work ethics and encouraged education as a means to succeed in life.

After graduating from High School, Maria married her high school sweetheart, Michael (Miguel) Herrera. They had two boys, Michael III and Albert. Maria worked for 10 years as a school bus driver for special education. On weekends she helped in the family restaurant business owned by her father-law. As the restaurant became more successful, Maria was spending more hours helping her husband and in 1989 left her bus driving position to devote herself to her children and the restaurant.

After the passing of her father–law, Maria and Michael took over the restaurant and maintained the spirit of philanthropy by sponsoring various sports groups and organizations. Over the years since 1991, Maria and Michael have sponsored approximately 1-3 sports teams each year. Maria believes that if God blesses you with success, it is your responsibility to give back. In addition, Miguel’s Restaurant has sponsored numerous youth to attend sport camps to help them reach their athletic potential and dreams. St. Mary’s Girls Basket Ball Team is a recipient of Maria’s generosity and hold their seasons-end awards ceremony at Miguel’s enjoying fine Mexican cuisine. In 2012 the Mexican Heritage Center presented Maria with the Adelita award for her community involvement.

In 1998, Miguel’s Restaurant suffered a devastating fire and was closed for thirteen months. Maria and Michael never lost hope and promised to rebuild a bigger and better establishment. In 2006, turning bad luck into good, Maria and Michael expanded the restaurant to include a banquet room and cocktail lounge. The expansion allowed the restaurant to hold fundraising events for community non-profit organizations. Unfortunately, after the expansion, Michael became ill and passed away, but not before seeing it completed.

A champion for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton, Maria holds two “All You Can Eat Tacos” fundraisers each year since 2009 to raise funds for their Immigration Legal Services Program. Maria and her staff make and donate over 1,000 tacos for each event generating needed funds to help families reunite and lawful permanent residents become citizens. On Sundays, her only day off, she has volunteered at citizenship workshops in Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties helping with citizenship applications. Maria knows no boundaries when it comes to helping others; she is always willing to give a helping hand and support her community.

Maria’s compassion for others spills over to our four-legged friends. She is known to pick-up stray dogs and find them loving homes. She herself has adopted three of those stray dogs, Buddy, Pikachu and Bella (Chimichanga).