San Antonio

Raymond "Ray" Saucedo


By Jackie Rapp

If growing up in a family with 11 brothers and one sister doesn’t sound hectic enough, Raymond
"Ray" Saucedo’s family also didn’t just stay in one location. Saucedo's childhood consisted of summers when the family would load up a truck and wooden camper and head to Michigan, Ohio, or anywhere else that cherry-, strawberry- and tomato-picking migrant work led them.

“Wherever work was, we would go,” said Saucedo, who went on to serve in the U.S. Army in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Vilma Martinez


By Carlos Devora

From working as a lawyer to serving as president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to being appointed ambassador to Argentina, Vilma Martinez has been a trailblazer.

Her work has helped bring down discriminatory laws and expand the political power of Latinos.

She has accomplished this even in the face of racial and gender discrimination.

Josué "George" Garza


By Taylor Gantt

In 1970, George Garza was a popular middle school teacher in Uvalde, Texas. But when the school board repeatedly declined to renew his contract, he became a central figure in a six-week school walkout that changed the small town for generations.

These days, Garza downplays his own part in the walkout.

Manuel De Jesus Lozano


By Angela Bonilla

From a very young age, World War II veteran Manuel De Jesus Lozano was on the move. After a childhood marked by struggle, his work ethic propelled him to a long and successful career in the Air Force.

He finally settled in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he worked in state government and later for a neighbor -- Bill Clinton. Lozano worked on Clinton's campaigns for governor and for president of the United States.

Raul Portales


By Jordan D. Schraeder

Working at Dodson’s Grocery in 1943, Raul “Roy” Portales dreamed of sailing the high seas. That year, the San Antonio native found a way to make that dream a reality: enlistment in the U.S. Navy. After three years of stocking and delivering groceries, Portales’ enlistment in the Navy on July 7, 1943, offered a change of scenery.

Rolando L. Rios


By Jess Brown

It was the summer of 1952. Leo Rios, a cab driver, was shot dead by a passenger he had just picked up on the streets of San Antonio, Texas. His wife, Teresa Hernandez, was left with a broken heart to nurse and three daughters and a son to raise, without any means of doing so.

But help was at hand.

Daniel M. Hinojosa


By Amy Bingham

As the first rays of sun peeked over the horizon, Daniel Hinojosa slowly opened his swollen, mosquito-bitten eyelids. The familiar sight of thick, damp jungle surrounded him. Inside his Army boots, Hinojosa felt the sickening squirm of leeches that had snuck in through his shoelace holes while he slept. Soon his fellow soldiers awoke, and the morning routine of plucking the small, black bloodsuckers from each other commenced. It was just another day as an infantryman on patrol in 1969 during the Vietnam War.

Camilo Moreno Medrano


By Ali Vise

The clock read 4:30 when an explosion shook Camilo Medrano awake and sent him sprinting in the darkness toward the moans and calls for help. He felt around with his hands, he grabbed the limbs of the men scattered on the ground, confirming casualties while searching for survivors. This was his job.

It was a job that took Medrano from his hometown of San Antonio to the horrors of the Vietnam War.

Arturo Ramirez


By Grant Abston

As a sophomore at La Salle High School in San Antonio, Texas, Arturo Ramirez stood out from his classmates.

Ramirez already had a working history that spanned many years. He had worked alongside his father cleaning offices at the Union Stockyards in San Marcos, northeast of San Antonio, since he was eight years old. The work day sometimes began at 4 a.m. before school. He had also worked landscaping for two years before taking a job at a bowling alley on the south side of town during his sophomore year.

Juan Mejia


By Frank Trejo

From childhood poverty in South Texas through the Battle of the Bulge, one of World War II's bloodiest conflicts, Juan Mejia proved he was a survivor.

Mejia's wartime experiences included being listed as missing-in-action for a time, but he said it never occurred to him that he might die.

"The closest I got was when a piece of shrapnel fell on me here on my coat," he said. "I just did this, brushed it off."