Lali and Bob a Legacy of Servant Leadership at Guadalupe Center

Monday, February 14th, 2022

In 2021, Guadalupe Centers lost two phenomenal board members Rafaela “Lali” Garcia and Robert “Bob” Soltero, but their legacy of servant leadership will go recognized as the prime example.

Before the year ended, we interviewed Lisa Aquino, daughter of Lali and JoAnn Soltero, daughter of Bob to hear their perspective about their parents’ involvement in Guadalupe Centers.

Both daughters mentioned that their parents’ involvement in Guadalupe Center was personal.

Bob grew up on the Westside, he was a social person who loved community service, his commitment was to support and grow the leadership at GCI.

“When my dad retired and got older, he lived for Guadalupe Center, he was raised here and just wanted to better his community,” said JoAnn.

Lali moved from the Armourdale neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas to the Westside after the 1951 flood. The center helped her then and continued to help until she got to the point where she could give back.

“The center had done so much for her and her family when she was young,” said Lisa.

Both daughters could recall memories with their parents volunteering at GCI during the old fiestas, day of the dead, Cinco de Mayo where people united at these social and cultural gatherings with activities, authentic Mexican food, and entertainment.

Lisa and JoAnn mentioned the fact that both parents could cook. Whether it was Lali who was gone for hours serving her community and still coming home to prepare dinner with whatever she had or if it was Bob who could cook so well that he preferred his own, he was picky, no one else’s food was as good as his.

Even JoAnn had to work hard for her dad’s approval of her food. After several years, finally Bob said the magic words of approval “now that’s good,” all JoAnn could think was wow! After all these years.

Just like their parents they also picked up some similarities. JoAnn saw herself just as social and positive like her dad.

While Lisa has found through her children and grandchildren that she’s picked up certain mannerisms, sayings, and even moments of scolding her granddaughter who would then say, “you sound just like grandma.”

Their parents also instilled in them important values. Bob believed in working hard, honesty, and being a good person who tries to help.

Lali, who learned from her father then taught her children, “If there’s anything you can do to help, you have to do it.”

Lisa and JoAnn, inspired by their parents, have also taken steps to serve and be engaged. This legacy of servant leadership can be honored by bringing in 2022 with the same energy to help our community just as Lali and Bob.