Charles Doud/The Madera Tribune
Latinas Unidas Mother of the Year Eva Camacho, center, is celebrated during the group’s annual Mother’s Day Tea at San Joaquin Wine Co. At left is Madera City Councilwoman Cece Gallegos, and Eva’s daughter Veronica.
Eva Gil Camacho Ochoa was chosen Mother of the Year Saturday by the members of Latinas Unidas, which holds its Mother’s Day Tea every year.
She sat quietly on a chair while her daughter family and Madera City Councilwoman Cece Gallegos talked about her, talked about mothers in general, and then presented her with a pearl necklace.
She is the mother of six living children and eight grandchildren.
Following is a tribute to their mother written by members of the Camacho family and, read at the Mother’s Day Tea by her daughter Veronica, who is among four registered nurses in the family.
“Our mother, Eva Gil Camacho Ochoa, is the embodiment of determination, hard work, strength, and sacrifice.
“Born in the small Mexican village of Chavinda in the state of Michoacán, our mother demonstrated grit at an early age. She worked tirelessly to help her family improve their living conditions. At the age of 20 she worked enough to be able to buy a house for her parents and younger siblings in Mexico.
“Our mother was married at the age of 21 but had to endure separation from her husband, Jesus Ramos Camacho, who was a migrant farm worker in the U.S.
“When she first arrived in the states in 1976 she was pregnant and had to live in a one-room house with her husband.
“During the six days out of the week when her husband was working, she recalls looking out into the endless rows of grape vines in Madera and feeling so alone and out of place. She is a very social person and missed her family and friends back in Mexico. Nevertheless, she knew the U.S. held great promise for her newly born daughter Maria.
“Our mom is a resilient woman and the loneliness she felt didn’t last long, as she quickly gained friends and made herself a reputation for being an amazing cook and having endless energy. Our mother loves cooking, and to this day, if any of her children, friends, or friends of friends are craving tamales, popusas, pozole, or any other type of Latin American food she will gladly cook. She has a great heart for service.
“Our mother gave birth to a total of eight children, but sadly two passed away as infants. She has sacrificed everything for her children. She balanced working at different restaurants and decorated cakes along with being a fulltime mother. She is a great mom who always kept her children close and encouraged us to pursue an education and follow God at all times.
“The year of 2003 was particularly difficult. Mom was diagnosed with renal failure and was in need of a kidney transplant. She had been on dialysis for a few months, when only a few days before celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary our father unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack at the age of 51. We were all devastated but in our greatest time of need my mother demonstrated her unwavering love and commitment. Even though she was sick she would cater, bake, and decorate cakes to help get us through college. We were her motivation to keep living after losing the love of her life.
“Our mother encouraged us to never give up and for us to reach for the unreachable. She would tell us that we needed to get an education, not just for our future but the future of our own family. Her determination paid off when her two eldest daughters, Maria and Connie, graduated as registered nurses. Her son Jesse then graduated as a teacher. Her daughters Eva and Veronica also later graduated as registered nurses. Her daughter Maria and son Jesse went on to graduate with their Master’s Degrees.
“And then there came a bit of a miracle. While her youngest son Ricky was attending a Bible college in Arizona he met a teacher named Amy. Amy saw the tears in our brother’s eyes when he spoke about our mother and how sick she was. Our mother at this point had been on dialysis for years and her health was deteriorating.
“Amy decided to get tested and see if she would be a candidate to donate her kidney to our mother. She was a perfect match! On Dec. 10, 2008, our mother received her living donor kidney from Amy and has been in excellent health since.
“Our mom continues to inspire us with her endless energy, passion for service, and unwavering love. She is a loving grandmother of eight and an active member of the Madera Seventh Day Adventist Church where she often volunteers her time.
“Our mother will go without to ensure everyone around her is taken care of. She gives her all without ever expecting anything in return.
“We nominate her for Mother of the Year, but in reality she is Mother of a Lifetime.
The family of Eva Gil Camacho Ochoa