“He was the beginning of the change agent in Roswell,” Wilson said. “He had the courage and audacity to stay on that path. Roswell is a better city because of Marcelo Zapata.”
The former councilman held such a commitment to his council position that he kept a copy of his oath of office in the side pocket of his car, Selina Zapata said.
“In all the various activities that Marcelo was involved in over the years: the wine business, starting a semi-pro soccer team, it was always evident to us that his work as a councilmember not only meant the most to him, but it was also what he was most passionate about,” she said.
Zapata and his wife moved to Roswell from Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2000. He was elected to City Council in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. His work on council included efforts to make funding available to replace aging waterlines, the city proclamation states. And he was a catalyst for the city’s decision to transition to a fulltime fire department.
His accomplishments also include helping to establish the city’s first Hispanic Citizens Police Academy.
“People would say, ‘He always votes no …,’ resident Janet Russell said during public comment. “I would say, ‘actually he may be voting no but what he is (doing) is voting yes for all the residents of Roswell.’”
Russell said she and Zapata frequently met to discuss different initiatives, including those that would help students and residents.
She was one of seven residents who spoke in honor of Zapata.
Palermo and Hall said they are better councilmembers after serving with Zapata, describing him as “true public servant.”
“He is the councilman that we all aspired to be,” Hall said. “He’d walked the walk. He talked about accountability, about transparency. Those were the guidelines that he lived by.”