Thank You! Sonia Gutierrez's Open Letter To South Carolina

Hector Morales, or Moralitos, has been a beloved man who has helped the community more than you know.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - As many of you now know, Tuesday was my (Sonia's) last day. 

I will be moving back home to Denver, Colorado to report for 9NEWS. My family lives there and my sweetest niece is there too. I cannot wait to tell stories in the state I grew up in, in a city I love. 

This has been my dream for a long time but leaving all of you will be really hard. 

Thank you so much for everything, I take South Carolina in my heart.

During our morning meeting our boss, Julie Eisenman, told me I could do any story I wanted to do. Within reason, of course!

Without hesitation, I decided to profile our beloved Hector Morales, a Puerto Rican veteran who embodies everything I love about South Carolina. 

He joined the Army when he was 23 years old, and for 22 years he risked his life for us. 

Moralitos retired in 1972, but he didn't stop there. To this day, he continues to give to a community that is so lucky to have him.

Moralitos is turning 90 years old on January 29th and he still gardens. But the food isn't for him.

"Lo poquito o mucho que tiene"-- the little or a lot that he has he gives. 

The garden he has in his yard is completely open to the public. For anyone who needs food, he helps feed them, year-round.

Anyone in the community who calls and needs something, he gives it to them.

During Christmas, Moralitos helps get gifts for families who cannot afford it.

He calls it Proyecto Esperanza, or Project Hope. I call it the purest example of an American Hero.

Moralitos, you have taught me many lessons. Instilled in me the power of love, respect and giving. For that I will never forget you.

Now that I'm leaving, I take everything I love about South Carolina in my heart. 

Thank you for trusting me with your stories, this isn't the end. Miles apart, but our bond will not be broken by distance! 

Let's stay in touch on Twitter at SoniaReports. On Facebook, Sonia Gutierrez

Tagging out for the last time here, I'm Sonia GutieRRez News19 WLTX. :) 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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