McAllen

José Luis Aliseda


By: Voces Staff

José Aliseda's family was uprooted by the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, leading them to relocate to Mexico City. He would later move to the U.S., serve in the Army in Vietnam, and become an anesthesiologist in Texas.

Aliseda's father was a teacher who became an attorney and served in the Spanish federal government. When the Civil War broke out in 1936, Aliseda's father supported the Republicans, who were defeated by Gen. Francisco Franco's Nationalist forces.

Bob Sanchez


By Marcel Rodriguez

At age 17, Bob Sanchez volunteered for the U.S. Navy after two close friends were killed in combat. It was 1945, and his choice to enlist would set his life in a bold new direction. From Naval intelligence, to the University of Texas at Austin, to being a trial lawyer and activist in the Rio Grande Valley, the war and the university instilled in him a determination to make the world a better place, particularly for Latinos.

Esteban R. Garcia


By Kristin Stanford

While still a teenager, Esteban R. "Steve" Garcia learned firsthand that destroyers -- unlike nerves or stomachs -- are made of nearly impervious steel.

As waves incessantly pounded the sides of the four-stacker destroyer he was on in the South Pacific -- a ship built six years before he’d been born -- he and other newly trained enlistees slumped over the sides, with crisp white uniforms and green faces. It was Dec. 18, 1941, and they were en route to Alaska on the USS Kennison.

Moises Garza


By Ismael Martinez


Moises Garza enjoyed the simple farm life of La Joya, Texas. Born Sept. 4, 1924, he grew up by a river and enjoyed fishing and hunting deer and ducks. Garza remembers huge family gatherings where they cooked food outside. Garza's parents, Jose and Josefina Garza, worked in nearby farms.

"My parents farmed, picked cotton in towns like Victoria," Garza said. 

Emilio Rodriguez


By J. Myers Vasquez

As acting squad leader and a combat veteran during World War II, Emilio G. Rodriguez was charged with the responsibility of indoctrinating new soldiers coming to the front lines.

"The enemy is in front of us," Rodriguez told his men on the eve of the invasion of Okinawa. "The only thing I can tell you is that you have to take cover and concealment as much as you can so you can go home."

Teodoro De la Rosa


By Anna Wong

Evident in his service to the United States, Teodoro De La Rosa is a man who’s proud and loyal to his country.

De La Rosa was born in the humble surroundings of Pharr, Texas. His father, Gregorio De La Rosa, was a migrant farm worker; his mother, Beatriz Cavazoz De La Rosa, a housewife. They didn't own any property, but as long as they worked at the farm, the family had a place to stay, De La Rosa said.

Emma Villareal Hernandez


By Adrienne M. Cody

One needn't go further than Emma Hernandez’s own family, well-known in their community of Pharr, Texas, for their humanitarian efforts, to understand why she has devoted her life to civic service.

Tomas A. Hernandez


By Kristina Radke

Despite the horrors he experienced during World War II, Tomas A. Hernandez has lived a full, happy life.

Hernandez was born on Dec. 29, 1925, in Temple, Texas, to Mexican parents.

"My father spoke broken English," he said; “my mother didn't speak English at all."

Rafael Hernandez


By Juliana Torres

Though also a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Rafael Hernandez says it was World War II that created significant opportunities for Latinos.

Guadalupe Hernandez


By Nikki Muñoz

The son of a laborer, Lupe Hernandez has been defined by the concept of hard work, having spent much of his childhood alongside his father in the fields.

Hernandez's parents, Guadalupe Hernandez and Isidora Garza Hernandez, moved to the border town of McAllen, Texas, from Mexico in 1918. After having immigrated to Texas, his mother was visiting relatives in Mexico and gave birth to Hernandez in Reynosa, Mexico, where his grandmother lived.

Hernandez has many memories of his childhood, but mostly he recalls working with his father in the fields.