Armando Trejo

By: Voces Staff

Armando Trejo, an archivist for Elgin Community College, has transitioned to working remotely after 26 years of working physically in the archives, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Trejo, including his relatives that live in various regions in Mexico, have taken the necessary precautions to avoid the virus. However, Trejo does not see a bright future with our current leadership and without a vaccine.

Alicia Cisneros

By: Voces Staff

Alicia Cisneros works as a dental assistant in Elgin, Illinois. Due to COVID her work closed for almost two months (March to late May) and they only attended to emergencies. Although the staff and herself always had enough PPE, she didn’t feel safe in her work environment. She contracted the disease and spent five days in the hospital and has since felt nervous about catching it again or transmitting the virus to others and family and friends. She lost her mother and her brother to the disease.

Jesse de los Santos

By Cheryl Smith Kemp

Number 10 in a brood of 16, Jesse De los Santos was well accustomed to being a mere piece of something much larger than himself by the time he joined the United States Calvary in 1939.

Little did he know, however, that in a couple of years he would be part of an event significantly bigger than the Calvary, the Army, all of the armed forces combined, even the U.S. itself. For on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and everything changed. World War II was on.

Delfino Jose Guerrero

By Cheryl Smith Kemp

For World War II veteran Delfino Guerrero, who grew up in the urban jungle of Chicago during The Great Depression, three of the big “musts” in life were speak Spanish at home, English at school and the Boys Club; run around acting tough with friends from “the neighborhood;” and correct anyone who disrespects you.

“That’s the way it was,” said Guerrero, who was an Army medic with the 38th Infantry Division in the Pacific Theater from December of 1941 to Dec. 5, 1945.

Cruz M. Rodriguez

By Marjon Rostami

One day Cruz Rodriguez was picking corn and tomatoes on a farm outside of Chicago; the next day, the undocumented Mexican immigrant was preparing to go to war.

"They [the U.S. Army] didn't care if you were legal or not," Rodriguez said during his interview. "They just needed soldiers. They took Mexicans off the field and they [were sent] ... to war."

Joseph P. Ramirez

By Cheryl Smith Kemp

Joseph Ramirez turned the Army down when officers tried to keep him on at the end of 1945, asking him to serve six more months in World War II, at the promised rank of Sergeant.

Ramirez wanted to go home.

“I was certain I would be able to get a job in the Engineering Department,” he said, referring to Armor Institute of Technology, now Illinois Institute of Technology, from where he’d graduated before the war.

Ernest Quiroga

By Melissa Drosjack

As an Army entertainer, Ernie Quiroga had a very special audience during World War II – people liberated from concentration camps.

"I entertained persons that were in concentration camps and I always wondered why they were always in a daze," Quiroga said. "You couldn't tell too much, because they were in a daze."

Quiroga recalls playing his accordion, trying to aid their recovery.

"I was playing my accordion and one number that I played was a typical Mexican song -- Besame Mucho," Quiroga said. "They were still in a daze."

Benito Morales

By Kaz Edwards

Benito Morales sits perfectly still on his couch, adjusting only his hands, which lie neatly folded in his lap. Arranged next to him are various pieces of memorabilia from World War II, including a Bronze Star he received for heroic achievement in action.

But Morales doesn’t look at himself as a hero, merely one of the lucky few who made it through WWII alive and unscathed.

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