Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: George Romney

They were ordinary people living ordinary lives, until one singular sensation of circumstance conspired with fate to make them UNSUNG HEROES OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH.

When Michigan Gov. George Romney‘s GOP presidential nomination campaign came to the New York World’s Fair in 1964 (photo, left, with son Mitt) an intense young wannabe TV reporter named Gerry Riviera was on the scene.

The nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn was confused after his college experience at the University of Arizona. He had been strangely at home in the desert Southwest, but was still a gefilte fish out of water. What to do with his life?

“I was born to American parents in Mexico,” Romney told reporters as he toured the crumbling, deeply-indebted Spanish Pavilion. “In some ways, it would be helpful to be Latino.” Son Mitt nodded his head in agreement.

“In some ways, it would be helpful to be Latino.”

George Romney’s words reverberated in Gerry’s mind like a loud shofar (traditional ram’s horn) in an empty synagogue. Gerry had an epiphany.

Gerry Riviera was dead. And Geraldo Rivera was born.