2009 Inductee - Tomasa Mendoza


2009 Inductee - Tomasa Mendoza

Community Service

Tommy was born in Calexico, California to Simon and Rosie Guzman Sanchez on January 15, 1930, during the Great Depression. Although she finished grade school, she was unable to finish high school. Her grandmother would often tell Tommy “Make yourself useful, do something, wash dishes, help out. Be nice, be kind to people”, words that were to guide her life.

In 1952, she moved with her mother to Stockton, and later to Lathrop, California. She was only 17, when she married her husband Cruz Mendoza. They would go on to have 8 children, 17 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren! For 47 years, Tommy lived in San Joaquin County, and for 20 of those years worked as Field Manager for Muller Ranches, during tomato harvesting season.

Mostly, Tommy gives of herself though volunteer work and it all started when her children were in the Cub and Boy Scouts, and she served as an advisor. She was named Life Member of the PTA of French Camp School for contributions on behalf of students. For over 20 years, she and her husband have volunteered at Lathrop’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Church festivals, crab feeds, and numerous other activities. According to Father Dean Mcfalls, Tommy and her husband embrace the church’s spirit of “simplicity, good will, constancy of faith, joy in service, unpretentiousness, hard work and manual labor, a sense of humor and humility.”

In addition, for more than 20 years, she continues to volunteer 3 days a week for The American Cancer Society at their Discovery Shop, where she sorts, prices and helps sell donated items. Her ability to speak Spanish facilitates her interaction with Spanish-speaking customers and has served as a vital link to newly diagnosed cancer patients by translating and consoling them in their own language. Tommy wishes more people would volunteer to help the Cancer Society because “one day we will find a cure for this terrible disease.”