TX

Raymond Garcia


By Andres Salinas

Raymond Garcia, a proud Mexican-American who grew up in a small, segregated Texas town, enlisted in the U.S. Army to help support his family and to help his country. He fought as a heavy machinegun specialist 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.

Antonio Flores Alvarado


By Kassandra Balli

“I know I pulled him back to the safe area, but I don’t remember how I did it," said Vietnam veteran Tony Alvarado, recalling the day he rescued a fallen comrade during the battles for Hills 861 and 881.

When snipers attacked Alvarado’s Marine platoon, part of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, only eight out of 30 men survived.

Richard Armand Moya


By Alsha Khan

In the late 1960s, Richard Moya, an investigator with Legal Aid, was having lunch with two of his best friends - who also worked in anti-poverty programs - at Johnny Boy's Hamburgers. The topic: how tough it was to help their clientele.

Over hamburgers, fries and Dr Peppers at Johnny Boy's, the three of them talked about their frustrations, how to get the bureaucracy to hear the voices of the little guy.

"You know the only way we're gonna help all the people we want to help is we have to get on the other side of the table," someone remarked.

Lencho Hernandez


By Paige More

Retired labor organizer Lawrence "Lencho" Hernandez is still haunted by his elementary school principal's big green disciplinary paddle. That paddle would snap him in a direction that he would later regret.

"I had straight As in school. I had the highest GPA out of all of the students," Hernandez said. "But I could never please [him]."

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.

Gregory Rios


By Miguel Gutierrez, Jr.

The first time Gregory Rios cast a vote was in the 1960 presidential elections, when he supported John F. Kennedy. It made an impression on him -- especially because of the poll tax, which people in some states were required to pay in order to be allowed to vote.

Rios had to weigh all of his expenses against how much he had to earn to pay for it. For someone whose livelihood was earned by picking cotton, the poll tax put a burdensome dent in his meager budget.

Placido Salazar


By Lena Price

Placido Salazar had a choice.

He could have gone to the bunker, where he would have been relatively safe from the mortar attack raging outside his base in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, in 1965.

Or he could attempt to rescue his commander and a fellow soldier, who were recovering from injuries and illness in their mobile sleeping quarters several yards away from the command post where he was on duty.

Jim Estrada


By Lindsey Craun

Jim Estrada, a 17-year-old high school dropout, showed up for Air Force technical training in Biloxi, Mississippi.

He was surrounded by college students. But within several weeks, Estrada's intelligence emerged, since he consistently placed in the top 10 percent of his class.

That success represented a turning point in Estrada's life, launching him into a long and prolific career in broadcast journalism, corporate communications and finally his own public relations firm.

Eugenia González Alemán


By Joshua Barajas

As a spouse whose husband was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War, Eugenia “Jennie” González Alemán couldn't just sit at home waiting for him to come back: She wrote letters for mortally wounded American servicemen.

"They would cry and would be hurting -- [men] of all ages,” Alemán recalled. “But I really got touched by the young ones, I guess, because I would think of my [younger] brother,” she said, referring to Domitilo A. Gonzales, an Air Force mechanic.