By Joey Gomez
McALLEN, Texas – More than 50 students with South Texas College’s Construction Supervision program opted to give back to the community by volunteering to help a veteran in need for Veterans Day.
STC recently joined with Armored Painting, a local and veteran-owned company, to paint the home of Air Force veteran Raudel Moreno as part of the company’s Operation Veteran Paint Project.
Along with helping veterans in the community, owners with Armored Painting, who are also STC graduates, say the project is a valuable teaching experience for students, giving them the opportunity to utilize the skills taught in the Construction Supervision program.
“We have done this every year for the last four years, painting the exterior of a veteran’s home for free through our paint project,” said Armored Painting Founder and STC Construction Supervision alumnus and Marine Corps veteran Jose Robledo. “We know how hard it is as a veteran to transition to civilian life, no matter how many years it has been since they have been out of the service. We take great pride in that, to help our veteran community however we can. This project is just us using the skills we have been given to contribute in a meaningful way. As a younger generation of veterans, we have to step up and keep this going.”
Moreno, 78, is a disabled Vietnam War veteran who has lived in the home for nearly 60 years, since his youth as a migrant farmworker before joining the military in the 1960s.
“I really thank STC students for coming out and helping me,” said the homeowner. “This is a dream come true for me because I haven’t had the chance, but I will always appreciate this opportunity given to me by Armored (Painting) and the college. I always want to thank all of the veterans who have served who are still here with us, because not all have come back. We have to take advantage of all the services out there because we deserve it.”
STC student Orlando Isquierdo, who is also a veteran and was among those who volunteered to paint, said it’s important that no one forgets about the sacrifice veterans made while serving their country.
“Volunteering was a small way of giving thanks and honoring that sacrifice,” said Isquierdo, who served in the Army and National Guard for 19 years, stationed in Texas and Arizona, and overseas in South Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and various parts of Central America.
“As a veteran myself, I feel it’s important to help out others, and I know STC is especially involved with organizations like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Veterans (AMVETS), so it’s very fulfilling to help another veteran,” he said. “Mr. (Raudel) Moreno is disabled and a wheelchair user, and we know he can’t do it all himself. So, we’ve all come together to help one of our own. It’s so heartwarming to see the community unite in this way. We want to make sure that veterans like Moreno know that we still care, and we will keep moving forward with them.”