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Making a Difference Matters

Making a Difference Matters 10/07/2012 8:00 PM Eastern

Jose Díaz-Balart, 51, an Emmy Award winning journalist, Telemundo’s news anchor, MSNBC contributor and host/managing editor of public affairs weekly program Enfoque, was presented with the 2012 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Hispanic Television by Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable on Oct. 3 at the 10th annual Hispanic Television Summit in New York. The following is a copy of his prepared remarks for the awards luncheon at the Marriott Marquis:

Try to make a difference.

That’s been the leitmotif of my life and my nearly 30 years in journalism.

On that journey, the most important lessons I have learned have come not from the famous or the powerful, but from those who live their lives in quiet humility, serving others.

And I’ve had the privilege to meet so many. People like Jorge — I won’t use his last name — an undocumented immigrant and owner of a mechanic shop in Phoenix, who is having a difficult time keeping his business afl oat. Yet, he won’t charge families who depend on their broken car for their livelihood.

And Luis Gatica, a paramedic I met after the devastating earthquake in Chile. A tsunami took his brother, sister- in-law and only nephew, as well as his own five-year-old daughter and wife, as he held them and tried to hold back the tide. He never found their bodies …

I met him at a makeshift hospital just days after the disaster. He was aiding little children injured by the earthquake, reassuring them, with a smile of his face, that ”everything would be OK.”

As I prepared to leave Chile for the safety of my home and my family, I went to see him, to say goodbye. We held each other tight in an “abrazo,” and Luis told me, “The most important thing in life is to do everything you can to create a ‘legacy of service’ — un legado de servicio — that truly defines you and lives on after you’re gone.”

In these nearly 30 years of covering the world, interviewing princes and presidents, villains and heroes, nothing has been more rewarding than being able to shine a light on those who live their lives with humility and perseverance, quietly working to create their own “legacy of service,” asking for nothing in return.

I am deeply humbled to receive this extraordinary recognition and do so thinking of those whose acts of unmitigated love and compassion help define my life … and grateful to those who have given me the opportunity — the privilege — to live my “American Dream” and to continue trying to make a difference.

September