Lawmaker Overcomes Early Adversity, Makes History in Central Vir - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Lawmaker Overcomes Early Adversity, Makes History in Central Virginia

Posted: Updated:
Manuel Alvarez had to leave his home country as a teen but worked hard to overcome many challenges. Manuel Alvarez had to leave his home country as a teen but worked hard to overcome many challenges.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - Imagine being told as a teen you must leave your family and go live in a foreign country. That's exactly what happened to a local lawmaker in Goochland County, who says the road to his current position hasn't been easy.

Manuel Alvarez, Jr. was only 14 when he left his native country of Cuba on June 30, 1968. That's a date he says he'll never forget.

"I was escaping a communist country," he says. "I think anybody who has children would understand how difficult it is to put a child on an airplane and send them to a foreign country. [My parents] knew that was the only way that we would be successful."

Alvarez's entire family eventually escaped Cuba and settled in Richmond, then Goochland County.

One of five children, Alvarez graduated from college and then went on to work for Altria for more than two decades. After Alvarez retired from Altria, his work wasn't over. On November 8, 2011, he was elected to the board of supervisors in Goochland County. He now represents District 2.

During an interview, 8News Anchor Ava-joye Burnett asked Alvarez, "Do you remember what it was like when you first stepped in then and [realized] you're one of the Board of Supervisors?"

"It was pretty scary," Alvarez responded. "First meeting sitting out there and having this room almost full... it's pretty scary."

Alvarez says one of his main focuses now is to bring more internet access to his district - especially for students.

"You look at what they can accomplish in the schools... it's terrific," he says "When they go home, they're handicapped because they don't have the internet availability that they need to do their homework."

Alvarez was recently elected the Chairman of the Board. He's also on the committee of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission. The commission focuses on transportation needs in the metro region.

If you would like to contact Alvarez, click here.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

Do you know someone making a positive difference in Central Virginia or their community? ABC 8News Anchor Ava-joye Burnett wants to hear from you: post on her Facebook wall or tweet her your ideas.

Related Stories:

Local Man's Mission is to Help More Kids Pass SOLs

Richmond Woman Uses Pillowcases To Help Haiti Earthquake Victims

Making A Difference in Richmond: Miss Community Clovia

Powered by WorldNow

301 Arboretum Place, Richmond
VA, 23236

Telephone: 804.330.8888
Fax: 804.330.8881

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.