November 23, 1987
By Lance Gurwell
El Paso Times
Jose M. Aragon, 80, and Margarita Soto, 74, are going home for the holidays – to get married.
They were among 15 Texans and New Mexico residents awarded free airline tickets Sunday as part of Southwest Airline’s annual “Home for the Holidays” promotion.
At a news conference Sunday, the couple announced their plans to marry.
“Love comes when you least expect it,” Soto said as her husband-to-be stood smiling by her side. “I’ve never been happier.” It will be her first marriage.
Her fiancé, a retired shoe store employee whose first wife died here years ago – just a day before their 50th wedding anniversary – said the couple will travel to San Antonio next month to visit family and friends, and tie the knot.
“I have been very lonely,” Aragon said. “She’s the perfect woman for me.”
Aragon and Soto met at Southside Nutrition Center, where they go for meals. Both also do volunteer work in the center’s office.
Southwest Airlines has given its holiday trips to hundreds of senior citizens over the past eight years, said Callie Hermanski, area marketing manager.
“We’ve always had a strong program for the elderly, and this lets us help our older people take trips they might not have been able to make otherwise.”
Winners are picked at random from names entered though area Agency on Aging programs, said Per Ashkenaz, coordinator of special projects for the Rio Grande Council of Governments.
Entrants must be 65 or older and living on fixed income.
Other winners: Dorothy Stephens, 71, and Ruth T. Isaac, 68, both of Las Cruces; Jose Reyes, 81, of Alpine; Alejandro Moreno, 79, Maria E. Cortez, 72, Joseph M. Estrada, 74, Maria Huerta, 68, Antonia Santos, 77, Felipe Gallegos, 84 and Carlota Gallegos, 71, all of El Paso; Maria J. Ornelas, 76, of Presido, Texas; Roy Cramblis, 69, of Marfa Texas; and Aurora Vielma, 69, of Fabens.