SAN LUIS, Ariz. – Miguel Gonzalez went to work for this city’s Public Works Department in October 2002.
Starting as an operator of the sewer system, he rose through the ranks to second in charge of the department’s wastewater division.
On July 29, 2020, he died of COVID-19. But a year later, he is not forgotten by city officials and municipal employees who had praised him in life for his abilities, work ethic, leadership and sense of community service.
The San Luis City Council recently approved a resolution that lends his name to a day set aside to honor those who lost their lives to the coronavirus. The last Monday in October will be observed as a city holiday.
“We are going to name that day Miguel Gonzalez Day, in memory of the work that he did, the person he was and how much he did for the city,” Mayor Gerardo Sanchez said.
Gonzalez, the mayor said, led a work team that stayed at its job during the height of the pandemic to ensure that an essential service to residents was not interrumpted. The resolution passed by the council cites the example Gonzalez set and the motivation he gave the employees he supervised.
Raised in San Luis, Gonzales worked in his youth in annual lettuce harvests before joining the wastewater division. He earned state certifications in wastewater treatment in 2006, two years earlier than it typically took others with the same level of experience in the city.
Establishing Miguel Gonzalez Day was proposed by the city’s vice mayor, Africa Luna-Carrasco.
“Miguel is going to be a part of the history of San Luis forever,” Sanchez said. “It is a much-deserved recognition.”