For decades, Fraga brothers show dedication to community

For decades, Fraga brothers show dedication to community

September 24, 2013 4:36:14 PM PDT
We continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at ABC13 and this evening we're introducing you to two brothers from humble beginnings who have truly impacted the Houston community.

"He's always been a very giving and caring person," Lupe Fraga said.

They are a pair of brothers, Lupe and Felix Fraga, who've left an indelible mark on Houston and each in their own way. They're the sons of Mexican immigrant parents who came to the city nearly a century ago.

Felix Fraga Sr. left his own family during the Mexican revolution, fleeing the turmoil there only to meet his bride-to-be in Houston. The family lived in Second Ward near Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, next to the woman who'd become a household name -- Ninfa Laurenzo.

"Ninfa and my mother -- we lived right across the street from each other -- and they were like sisters so just to see how they took care of their families was an inspiration to all of us," Lupe Fraga said.

Felix Fraga was born in the year of the Great Depression, 1929. He was the first of his brothers to graduate from high school. It almost didn't happen.

"When the people at the center heard I was dropping out of school to go to work, they said if you'll stay in school, we'll let you work here," Felix Fraga said.

From high school, he got a scholarship to the University of Houston, where he played baseball. After that, he earned a master's degree in social work. He became one in Second Ward, the East End.

Seven years behind him is his brother Lupe, who got a scholarship to Saint Thomas High School. One of a handful of Hispanic students there at the time, from there, it was on to Texas A&M with a scholarship. Lupe Fraga was in the Corps of Cadets, served in the Army and returned to Houston. He bought a small business that took off with the advent of affirmative action.

"They had an affirmative action program where they encouraged minorities to do business with oil companies, so our first contract was with Shell Oil company," Lupe said.

Tejas Office Supplies grew into a big business, and Lupe Fraga has earned a lot of honors, including having served as a regent of Texas A&M.

Brother Felix Fraga remained committed to the community where he was raised. He went into politics in 1990, served two terms on the HISD school board, then was elected to Houston City Council, where he served three terms. Even in the world of politics, he was known for having that rare quality, he's nice.

"The Chronicle had an article, 'Fraga goes along to get along.' They didn't mean it in a bad way," Felix Fraga said.

They both do. One has created a family business that's being passed on the another generation of Fragas, and the other still lives in and works for the community that helped shape him. Both are involved in scholarships for underserved children.

The two successful brothers are the children of parents who came here in search of a better life, one their sons worked to achieve.

"Your parents would be proud," we told them.

"Yes, I will give you that. I think they would be," Lupe Fraga said.

Find Deborah on Facebook at ABC13DeborahWrigley or on Twitter at @wrigleyabc13

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