I was in Viet Nam in 1968 to 1969 as a river rat infontryman. It did’d take long to realize the war was for nothing. I recieved the Bronze star, two Air Metals and a couple of commendation metals amoung other ribbins while in combat.
The war was for nothing. Losing my brothers in arms was for nothing. Losing my youth and undrestanding of values and feelings was lost. I still get flashbacks and I was not sure what to do after I got out. I said to myself :if I was going to give my life on the line for anything else outslde of my family it eas going to be for something I believed in.
That was when Cesar Chavez came into my life. It was his passion and example of charging a movement to try to better the lives of so many helpless farmworkers that steared me in the direction I wanted to move towadrs. Since then I got involved in any thing I could to be part of the “Movimento”. I joined MECHA at City College. then began working for the better war.” The War on Poverty.” I helped forming the Chano PTA. in about ten rural communities
Then again I got drafted into the Agriculture Labor Relations Board in September of 1975. This was a dream come true. I conducted elections and Investigated unfair labor practice charges for farmworkers during it’s first five years.of operation. I have many stories to tell but not right now.
I have participated in many UFW marches and rallies as well as confronfrences throughout the state. I have met Cesar Chavez severla times. The one that stands out in my mind was when the first farmworker to die for the UFW Rene Lopez. was murdered. I was divestated and did not know what to do. So when an all night viguel was held I went about 1:00 AM to guard the coffon at Sant Johns in Fresno. As I was there for about 5 minues Cesar Chavez arrived with some of his staff. I had the distint privilage of guarding th cascet with Cesar on one end and I on the other. It was for about a half hour. I had a rare opportunity to really look into his eyes and look at his facual expressions. This was a man full of passion and resolve. I will never forget it.
When Cesar passed away I was truly divestated and in shock and had to pull over to get myself together. I did not know what to do other than call some friends to confirm it and cry. I had the most fortunate privalige of being asked to participate in his services. I was selected to help guard the cascate and monitor the coffen during the evening service. I was placed in charge of the media taking pictures during the wak, Again what a privilage. After the furneral I was asked to help out with the continuation of the Bruch Church hearings. We worked 24/7 to prepare for it..What a treat and great feeling to assist.
Sence then I have contued to participate in as much as I could for the Cesar Chavez movement. I could go on forever but in the in the interest of time I’ll concluded with; Thank you Cesar and your staff for changing my values and life.