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EMCSD Honors Local Emergency Relief Association Legend

El Monte City School District (EMCSD) and their Board of Education honored Lillian Rey, the Executive Director of the El Monte & South El Monte Emergency Resource Association (ERA) for her dedication to the families throughout the community. After four decades of service, she is officially retiring.

Ms. Rey has spent the last 43 years working at the ERA and was responsible for the administrative tasks of the agency including fund-raising, community liaison, and volunteer supervision. More often you could find her loading groceries into her van to deliver to a family in the midst of a personal or financial crisis. If not providing the necessary resources, Ms. Rey might be at a local motel arranging emergency shelter for a family who has just lost their home.

“I refer to her as a guardian angel,” said Dr. Maribel Garcia, EMCSD Superintendent. “This is someone who’s always been behind the scenes. She’s shown this community how important it is to take care of one another and that ripple will continue as we strive to continue her work.”

Recently, Ms. Rey has been integral to both pandemic and post-pandemic relief efforts. This includes providing basic necessities like hygiene accessories, diapers, toiletries, and canned goods to families in need. Over the years, Ms. Rey has organized gift baskets and toy donations for families during the holiday season. On the last day before Winter Break, many EMCSD staff volunteer to build baskets and donate toys to aid Ms. Rey’s cause.

“I just want to thank Lilian for leading with such a beautiful heart. Her legacy is something that will be irreplaceable,” added Dr. Garcia. EMCSD Board President, Beth Rivas said at their board meeting, “[Ms. Rey] has always been motivated by abundant compassion to meet every need she possibly could. I remember one time in particular, she had to make sure that a mother who came in went away with a doll and a doll blanket for her small child at home. Those are the extra special touches that make the El Monte and South El Monte Emergency Resources a place of hope, comfort, and compassion for our community.”

At the EMCSD board meeting, Ms. Rey was emotional when she saw all of her colleagues, EMCSD administrators, and teachers who came out to send her off properly. “The love that I have for our community is because of everyone who has helped me,” she said while trying to fight back tears. “This is not [just] Lilian Rey, it’s all of you that have helped.”

Ms. Rey’s efforts as the leader of the El Monte & South El Monte ERA are nothing short of essential to her community. When explaining how she has dedicated over 40 years to serving local families, her reason is simple, “I’ve always tried to do what I needed to do.”