MISSION, Texas (KVEO) — One of the last standing World War II Veterans in the valley was recognized at a pinning ceremony Saturday.
More than seventy-five years later, George Gamboa Jr. is being recognized with the occupation and victory medal.
His daughter Mari Gonzalez said her father is “a private man” but “honored” to receive the awards.
“At times you can see in his eyes that he was honored, he was proud, he was proud to be a soldier,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said she is grateful commander Felix Rodriguez helped make her father’s pinning ceremony a reality at age 94.
“I am very grateful for commander Felix Rodriguez for putting this, there’s not enough words,” said Gonzalez.
Veterans, family, and members of the community watched Gamboa Jr. as he received his occupation and victory medal.
Commander Rodriguez said Gamboa Jr.’s pinning ceremony was an important day for everyone.
“Everybody should feel good about getting to know this man,” said Rodriguez.
Commander Rodriguez shared he is a Vietnam and combat veteran himself who understands the challenges Gamboa Jr. faced.
“I know what it’s like to know fear, I know what it’s like to feel like you’re alone and you don’t want to die in a foreign country,” said Rodriguez.
Commander Rodriguez said veterans need to be recognized everyday.
“Freedom is not free, it’s because of men and women like him that kept our democracy strong,” said Rodriguez.
Commander Rodriguez told KVEO he believed veterans like Gamboa Jr. need to be recognized while they are still present.
“We need to recognize him and thank him, shake his hand and feel honored in his presence while he’s still with us,” said Commander Rodriguez.