An Inspiration to Others, IAPAC Honors Trailblazer Trehan Patel

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Flanked by Judge Maggie Jaramillo, Judge Trehan Patel was surrounded by her family, the Indian Consul General Parvathaneni Harish and the IAPAC Board members after the reception.
Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON:Although she didn’t set out to play that role, after she was appointed and sworn in on July 27 to become Fort Bend County’s youngest and first South Asian Associate District Judge for the 204th and 400th Districts (see IAN dated August 14, 2015), Stuti Trehan Patel had become a role model for others from her community.

When she was felicitated by the Indo American Political Action Committee this past Sunday, August 30 at a reception at India House, Judge Trehan Patel kept her speech brief and focused on thanking the people in her family (both sides of which were fully in attendance in support), the organizers and the faith that had been placed in her ability by her peers. She especially thanked Judge Maggie Jaramillo who had given her the oath and attended the mid-afternoon event along with her husband Juan, a former Marine and currently a Sargent in the Houston Police Department.

IAPAC President Karun Sreerama was ecstatic about Trehan Patel’s achievement and the role she would play in local community affairs. “You are an inspiration to us and to the generation ahead of you,” he said. Indian Consul General Parvathaneni Harish who is a huge supporter of IAPAC said that the mission of the group was “very, very important to the next generation”, adding “India and the US are great democracies. Everytime an Indian gets appointed or elected, you become a trailblazer.”

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Newly appointed Judge Stuti Trehan Patel appreciated the community’s outpouring of support at the IAPAC reception in her honor at India House on Sunday, August 30.

IAPAC Board Director Abraham Joseph read a brief biography of hers by way of introducing her to the 100 or so people who came to the event. Another Board Director and former President, Gitesh Desai, himself appointed on the City of Houston Building Code General Appeals Board (see IAN dated December 15, 2014), congratulated Trehan Patel for “going into public service.”

Thrust reluctantly into the limelight, Trehan Patel was soft spoken about her achievement, yet confident in her ability to fulfill the role in an area of expertise that that she had been working in as an Assistant District Attorney in Fort Bend County District Attorney John Haley’s office for the past 15 years. “I loved being a prosecutor, but when the opportunity came along, I applied for it,” said Trehan Patel, “and now I have loved every minute of the past month at the new position.”

What she was most excited about was that she was a hometown girl and could play a part in Ft. Bend County where she grew up. She also spoke about her work with two local charities, Daya which deals with domestic abuse victims and Hope Endowment which provides funds for orphaned children in India. She kidded that “perhaps I take my job a little too seriously”, and added her thanks to the other four District Court Judges for their faith in her ability.

One of them is Judge Jaramillo from the 400th District Court which listens to felony cases and civil matters, who was appointed to the bench by then Gov. Rick Perry in October 2014 and wasted no time in testifying to Trehan Patel’s hardwork and dedication, “which means no worries for me,” she joked. Herself a naturalized US citizen after she came to the country when she was 9 years-old, Jaramillo emphasized her support for keeping your heritage alive and work with charities. “However, if there’s one thing I have learnt,” she lamented about her loss of First Amendment rights, “it is that I can have an opinion but cannot express it since I have to stay neutral.”

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