by Sahar Chmais
Vincent Lecca, a man who leads a life with a schedule built for three people, has expanded his passion for fishing into his love for volunteerism. His calm demeanor and smooth voice perfectly pair with what he has chosen to dedicate so much of his life to – fishing. The grand effect he has had on the Hays community is what made Lecca a perfect candidate to recognize during the Hispanic Heritage Month.
Throughout the conversation, Lecca counted how many volunteer opportunities he partakes in, and in all honesty, it is difficult to keep track; he would randomly sprinkle in his experience from another volunteer job, forgetting he had not spoken of it beforehand. But there were a few things Lecca has done with his volunteer work that really stuck.
Some things span from volunteering with Texas State University veteran students, where he taught veterans fly fishing and making ties, a motion that has in some cases helped soothe PTSD effects. Then, there is his volunteer work with Texas Parks and Wildlife, which he started over a decade ago and opened up even more opportunities to be out in nature, near bodies of water to teach fishing to families and children.
But perhaps one of the most impactful deeds was creating a competitive fishing group, assembled from several schools in South Austin and Hays County, called 5th Day Anglers. Not only does this group create an outlet for the students to fish and be outdoors, but building that skill can help them get college scholarships to universities that have fishing teams, like the University of Texas or Texas A&M University.
“It was a brain child, this whole 5th Day Angler deal,” Lecca said. “My wife tagged me on a Facebook post where a high school student wanted to start a fishing group but didn’t know what to do. My wife knew I had affiliations with Texas Parks and Wildlife and other places like Cabela’s, so she thought I could help get the kids equipment they may need. Here we are, two years later running a championship.”
Outside of fishing, but not too far off, Lecca was nominated to the Buda Oversight Bond Committee, where they ensure the Bond money intended for city improvements are being implemented correctly. He even notes the importance of representation of diversity in both the East and West side of Buda and wants to ensure projects are being done equitably.
But of course, Lecca, an exemplary resident who was awarded Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in Buda for his active role in the city, also has a separate life from parks and fishing. He works as a pharmaceutical industry employee. His Hispanic background is a mishmash of Puerto Rican, from his father’s side, and Italian, from his mother’s side.
“I was brought up in the Puerto Rican atmosphere,” reminisced Lecca on his time as a young child in New York, “we had all the good food, danced Salsa and Merengue.”
That music and culture was brought with Lecca from his time in New York and into Texas — he has not let go of that aspect in his life. To enrich his community with the musical culture, Lecca uses his knowledge of being a DJ, which he acquired back from his university days, and DJs events for Hays County CISD and even the fireworks events. He finds this to be a great way to share his Hispanic culture with the rest of his community.
“This is a chance to showcase the Hispanic heritage, which is a huge part of the city of Buda,” Lecca accurately pointed out because Hays County has a nearly 40% Hispanic population. “There are a lot of Hispanic Americans living in Buda.”
Through the Buda Alliance Club, he is able to further expand the Hispanic culture. For example, the Wiener Dog Races in Buda usually see about 15,000 visitors, many from out-of-state. During that weekend, Lecca is in charge of entertainment and usually invites high school mariachi bands to perform.
Lecca is constantly working on expanding his work in the community and even getting his culture out there, but he hopes that others join into these opportunities.
“Not everybody thinks, ‘how can I be involved,’” Lecca said. “But you can make a difference, you can be involved. For me, it’s being out there and showing other Hispanic members of the community they can make a difference and they can participate.”