Why does the Pueblo Latino Veterans Profiles in Courage only honor Pueblo Latino veterans?

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins annually Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15, the Pueblo Latino Veterans Profile in Courage (LVPiC) committee celebrates its heritage in accordance with Public Law 100-402, 17 Aug1998.

Pueblo native and United States Army Vietnam veteran Larry Alvarado envisioned recognizing Pueblo's Latino veterans for their courage and honorable service to our country during National Hispanic Heritage Month. After sharing his idea with fellow Hispanic veterans, civilians, and the Latino Chamber of Commerce, the LVPiC committee was established.

National Hispanic Heritage Month was designated the time to conduct the recognition. The LVPiC committee consists of Hispanic Veterans who have honorably served their country, veteran spouses, civilians and family members.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, the LVPiC committee honors Hispanic veterans from the city and county of Pueblo who have served honorably in the military, in combat or in peacetime. In addition, people are honored for their selfless service acts and/or service to the community, family, church and/or military/veterans services.

The Latino Veterans Profiles in Courage supports all diversity and national observances/awareness celebrations established by law, bill or resolution of Congress, such as Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Asian-American Month. These observances are designed to enhance cross-culture and cross-gender awareness and promote harmony among everyone.

The LVPiC mission mirrors that of the Department of Defense, U.S. Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and National Guard special observances and celebrations. These special observances are conducted to recognize the continuous achievements of all Americans, to honor our diverse cultures in an effort to increase the awareness, mutual respect and understanding. Our Latino veterans are an integral part of our community’s life, culture and identity.

Since 2015, LVPiC has honored 22 Pueblo Latino veterans who served during the campaigns of World War I (posthumously), World War II (posthumously or in person — a couple at the young age of 94), the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the current war on terrorism and who served in peace time. Many of these veterans have never been welcomed home or thanked for their services.

The committee has screened numerous nominations, all deserving of recognition, selecting a maximum of six annually due to limited funds. Our goal is to eventually have a memorial wall with names of those who have been recognized for a legacy to their country, families and community.

What’s not limited is the enjoyment and pleasure the committee endures when the nominator (usually a proud family member) tells the story of the veteran who is standing tall and proud. Nothing can compare to witnessing the patriotism, pride, love and the heartache heard in their voices and seen in the eyes of family and friends.

We invite the Pueblo community to join us Oct. 12 at the Pueblo Convention Center as we honor six more of our Latino veterans. we know you will agree it is a wonderful tribute to our Latino veterans and community members.

Christopher Robles, Sergeant Major (Ret), is a U.S. Army 32-year active duty veteran. He served in both the Cold War and the global war on terrorism, and is a 2016 LVPiC award recipient. He is passionate about veterans and their families and the equal opportunity program in our military.