CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Carlos Gonzalez spent a recent afternoon sprucing up his fellow veterans resting place at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery.
The Vietnam era veteran expects this place to be his final home too.
“Well, I’m gonna be here I figure I can give a little,” Gonzalez said.
With every scrubbing motion, Gonzalez thinks of those who served before him. It can get a bit overwhelming when you think of all the brave souls who now live there.
“There’s a lot of lives that gave us a freedom here, and I feel very honored to be a part of it,” Gonzales said.
He is part of a cleanup crew of all ages who joined the newly formed Veterans Service Office Volunteer Corps.
Their first mission is to carefully clean headstones and signs at the state veterans cemetery.
Veterans Memorial High School students Luke De Los Angeles and Kieli Saenz were among the 40 people who showed up for the cemetery cleanup.
They both already understand their service goes well beyond the pail of water and soapy sponge they are using to scrub the markers for the fallen veterans.
“These men and women sacrifice their lives, so for us to be here today, we may or may not serve like them, but you know, I think it’s our obligation to serve them,” De Los Angeles said.
“I think this just means a lot to help make their area nice, and it’s good,” Saenz said.
That’s why Nueces County Veterans Service Officer JJ De La Cerda created this new volunteer program.
“We’ve got to take care of our fallen every single day; not just for Veterans Day or Memorial Day,” De La Cerda said.
The volunteer corps is also looking for volunteers to help with upcoming events such as the Field on Honor and the Wreaths Across America event in December.
To get involved, contact Nueces County Veterans Service Officer JJ De La Cerda at 361-888-0820.
Contact Veterans In Focus reporter Pat Simon at email@example.com