Ernestine Mojica Kidder

By Haley Dawson

Ernestine Mojica Kidder vividly recalls one of her earliest memories as a young child in Taylor, Texas. Her father lifted her into his arms and pointed to a schoolhouse in the distance. “That’s where you’re going to school as soon as you’re old enough,” she remembers him saying. “When you’re 6, you’re gonna go to school.”

A child of the World War II era and a woman of the Civil Rights era, MojicaKidder was among the first Hispanic women for whom a higher education became both a possibility and a reality.

Charley Gonzales Kidder

By Natasha Verma

“Two years, 11 months and 21 days,” World War II veteran Charley Gonzales Kidder said with a smile. “That’s exactly how long I served.”

At 18 years of age, Gonzales Kidder was proud and honored that his country gave him the opportunity to serve during a time of strife. At the time of his interview, he was 85 and his feelings had not changed.

"I got to see a lot of the world and meet a lot of fine people,” Gonzales Kidder said. “I’m very proud of the service I helped render.”

Rafael C. Medrano

By Kaitlyn Clement

Rafael Cantu Medrano left his Texas hometown to join the military in 1940. Four years later, he landed at a Normandy beach four days after D-Day. He was wounded in combat and was awarded a Bronze Star.

Medrano fought to support his family while he grew up during the Great Depression and then fought all the way to Germany.

Vidal Rubio

By Emily Macrander

As his personnel carrier (PC) drove along a rice field in 1966, Vidal Rubio snapped a photo of the convoy. It was a rare moment of quiet for him in the hectic early years of the Vietnam War.

Suddenly, the tenth vehicle in the line hit a landmine.

Rubio and the other men in his truck were thrown from their seats. The men wondered: Who was hit? How badly damaged were the PCs?

Medical personnel were in the armored personnel carrier that hit the landmine. The explosion was so powerful that it threw the PC onto the PC behind it.

Hernan E. Jaso

By Alex Loucel

“You can follow around and ask anyone 50 to 100 miles about Hernan Jaso, and you’ll find that somebody knows the kid,” Jaso said of himself.

After his tour of duty in Vietnam, Jaso turned to public policy and a goal of providing a better future for minorities in Texas. As the regional environmental coordinator for the Golden Crescent planning commission, the executive director for the Greater Victoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, board president for the University of Houston-Victoria, and three-term mayor of Goliad, Texas, Jaso felt that he achieved his goal.

Carmel Sandoval Camacho

By Ajay Patel

Carmel Camacho's father told him as a young boy that, if he was kind to other people, then he would never have trouble getting along with anyone. Camacho took his father's words to heart, working as a medic in the Army, bringing comfort and healing in World War II and the Korean War.

Drafted at age 19, Camacho became part of a 17-man U.S. Army medical unit one year later. He initially served from 1942 to 1946, but his military career spanned World War II through the end of major hostilities with the Korean War armistice in 1953.

William Zermeno

By Yiyi Jennifer Yang

It took a war for William Zermeno to leave his hometown, Houston, and his beloved family. The Zermeno family shared a very close bond -- the brothers, particularly, would play and hang out together even as they grew older.

“We got along well. We played tag, hide-and-seek, rolled tires, made cars out of clay, and played army,” Zermeno said. “My parents were really strict, but very loving and kind. They always advised us to be good students in school.”

Benny C. Martinez

By Jackie Rapp


Benny Martinez was born a helper.


He served as a medic in the Korean War. He taught unruly 6th graders. He once delivered a baby in the back seat of a car. He encourages kids to stay in school and pursue higher education.


“The best thing we can do here is to educate the children,” he said. “There’s nothing better.”


But when Martinez started the first grade in Goliad, Texas, in 1940, he hated school.


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