Dubon named Outstanding Hispanic Raider

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

Don Luis Dubon

HUNTINGBURG — When Don Luis Dubon first moved to Huntingburg with his family in 1999, there were only a few Hispanic families in the area. Those few families had already made the community their home, but Dubon noticed a gap between those families and the rest of Dubois County.

In 2008, Dubon founded the Association of Latin Americans in Southern Indiana, a local organization meant to promote civic engagement and improve the lives of Latinos in the area. ALASI has also helped Dubon and his family, as well as many other families, feel at home in Southern Indiana while still honoring their roots and culture.

Dubon was awarded the first Outstanding Hispanic Raider award by the Southwest Dubois County School Corporation Friday morning. Dubon’s family and friends and students and staff from the Southwest Dubois schools filled the Southridge High School auditorium to honor Dubon and his commitment to his community.

“Who am I to receive this?” Dubon told the crowd in Spanish as he accepted the award. “I think I’m representing, in this moment, the community, not only Hispanics but Anglos, all together.”

Dubon was born in 1952 in El Salvador and is the second oldest of eight children. He attended school for a few years before he had to drop out to help with chores at home.

In 1977, he married Felipa Dubon (Guardado), and together they had 11 children, 10 of whom were born in El Salvador. Luis visited the U.S. for the first time in 1984 in search of a better life for his family, traveling back and forth for years afterward. In 1997, his petition for permanent residency was approved, and he, Felipa and their children moved to Maryland.

Milagro Serrano, Dubon’s daughter, was about 4 years old at the time. Starting over was difficult for her, she said, but is sure it was even more challenging for her parents and older siblings. When the family moved to Indiana a few years later, Serrano started kindergarten at the new Huntingburg Elementary School.

Now, Serrano has three children who are all in Southwest Dubois schools. Her son, who is in kindergarten, is in the Dual Language Immersion program at Huntingburg Elementary. She’s grateful for the program, she said, so he can embrace speaking Spanish often and remember his roots.

She’s even more grateful for her father for taking the risk of leaving all he’d ever known to build a better life for his family and encouraging them to be involved in the community.

“At the end of the day, my heart feels full,” she said. “We want to leave the world a better place for our children, and we can’t do that if we don’t get involved in our community.”

Ultimately, Serrano said her dad’s biggest accomplishment, in his eyes, has been keeping his family together. Dubon now has 23 grandchildren and most have attended or are enrolled in Huntingburg Elementary. Dubon is always eager to know what the grandkids are learning in school, Serrano said, and how they plan to use that knowledge in their lives and create a better future for generations to come.

The Outstanding Hispanic Raider award ceremony was organized by Rossina Sandoval, director of community engagement for Southwest Dubois Schools, and is meant to honor Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced the schools and Dubois County as a whole.




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