MODESTO -- Loretta Murphy Begen has been a Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge since 1998, but her dedication to justice began in the early 80s.
Begen graduated from Southwestern University School of Law in L.A. in 1984 and quickly found herself working for a law firm in the area. Few years later, she moved to the Central Valley where she has been serving community in and out of the courtroom.
Among her community activities include teaching citizenship classes at El Concilio; mentoring students in reading at Modesto's Shackelford Elementary School; teaching piano to economically disadvantaged students; gives presentations to various community groups on the court system, criminal law and family law; is an active member of Our Lady of Fatima Church; and the list goes on and on.
For these and many other reasons, Begen was chosen by El Concilio to receive the Unsung Hero Award during the organization's annual gala Oct. 7 at the Del Río Country Club.
Q: What does this award mean to you?
A: "The award recognizes those in our community who enjoy helping other people become more self-sufficient. I am deeply honored to receive El Concilio's Unsung Hero award."
Q: Why did you go into law?
A: "I wanted to help people who had been mistreated by others, and to use my education to make a difference in someone's life."
Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job?
A: "I'm a 'people' person, so I like meeting and working with members of our diverse community. People who cannot afford an attorney face great challenges when they come to court. I find it very satisfying to try and demystify the court system for those who are unrepresented."
Q: What has been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome in your professional career?
A: "I put myself through law school at night by working full time during the day. It was very difficult to do, but it was worth it. I learned that hard work and perseverance are required to accomplish an important goal."
Q: Do you see yourself as a role model?
A: "I hope I am a good role model for all the young people I meet."
Others being recognized by El Concilio during their event include: Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Ricardo Córdova with Amigo of the Year Award; Modesto Attorney María Jaime with Amiga of the Year Award; and, The American GI Forum with La Raza Award.
The gala is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 14 at Del Río Country Club, 801 Stewart Road in Modesto. Cost is $75 per person.
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