Thursday, November 02, 2006

Some Good People I Met

Group Picture of America's Last Patrol Post #3

Today, I had the opportunity to join Mr. Peña on his walk with a good bunch of guys, and a few gals, from America's Last Patrol Post #3 on their walk from Brownsville to Roma. This was Day 2 of their 5 day walk. Just in case you're not up to speed, this group traveled from Edinburg, Tx to San Antonio, Tx on foot one year ago. The distance of the trek was 250 miles. This time, the trek is 125 miles. The purpose of the walk is to highlight the need for a Veterans Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley. Currently, veterans who need medical care must travel the 250 miles to San Antonio. For many of our veterans, this journey is a hardship for lack of funding or transportation. Therefore, these veterans got a feasibility study going to determine whether the government should build a VA Hospital here. There is no hospital yet, so they want to remind the public so that we don't forget.

We caught up with the group at La Feria and accompanied them all the way to Weslaco. Along the way, more and more people joined the group. It was inspiring to see so many people dedicated to the cause. During our walk, you could heard a constant series of honking from drivers-by in support of the effort. Some people even stopped by and thanked the group for what they are doing.

Our first stop was to park our vehicles ahead of the group. We were coming into Mercedes where the new Outlet Mall opened. There was a lot of bumper-to-bumber traffic around that area for the Grand Opening. Up ahead, we stopped for an interview with a newspaper reporter. Some of us took advantage of the stop and visited Van Burkleo Ford to use their toilets. I'll take this opportunity to thank Van Burkleo Ford for their kindness.

Texas Taco Mart Around the Donna area, the group received a gift of water bottles to lend their support. We were crossing the street and heard a distant voice calling to us and waving for our attention. The young lady asked if we would like some water, which we gratefully accepted. Thank you to the Texas Taco Mart for their encouragement and water.

America's Last Patrol Post #3 Up ahead, we passed the South Texas ISD schools. We were really close to our lunch stop at the Peter Piper Pizza in Weslaco when we met a couple of World War II veterans, brothers.

World War II Veteran Brothers These men are Filiberto and Jose Zamora. They had been searching for the group all day. They took our pictures and shared their experiences during the war. One of them was stationed in Africa where the allies trounced the enemy; and the other went to France right after D-Day. He was young, and therefore one of the last ones out of Europe.

America's Last Patrol Post #3 We stopped at the Peter Piper Pizza in Weslaco for lunch. I got the chance to properly introduce myself to some of the group and get their names.

Visit from Maria Luisa Alvarado We also had the good fortune to meet Maria Luisa Alvarado, who stopped by to lend her support. She is running for Lt. Governor of Texas. Ms. Alvarado is former Air Force.

You can see many more photos about the walk here.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I'm a bit sad that I won't be able to join these fine soldiers tomorrow. I'll be at the opening of the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetary in Mission.

Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetary Entrance If you are interested in attending, take Expressway 83 west past Mission. Get off at the Inspiration Rd Exit and take a left. As you cross under the bridge, you'll take another left and then drive straight for a couple miles or so. It's big enough you won't miss it.

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