BY Amanda Sotelo
Veteran and lead advisor for the Veteran Students Alliance Club Jose Villegas was recently honored at the Texas State Technical College Student Leadership Banquet with the Club Advisor of the Year Award.
The United States Army veteran has worked with TSTC for two years as the Veterans Program Officer at the TSTC Veterans Center and just completed his first year as the club advisor. He served in the Army for 8 years, with a deployment in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.
“I’m excited and honored to have received this award,” said Villegas. “To be part of this club that continues to grow and see students exceed their expectations and goals is a privilege. It’s a humbling experience.”
Villegas was nominated by his club members for this award. Each club was given a nomination form to complete with their advisor’s information and reason for the recommendation. Maria Rincon, former Veteran Students Alliance Club president, said their nomination for Villegas was a no brainer.
“Jose has all the qualities of a leader,” said Rincon. “He is our voice, our advisor and the person we go to when things in life get tough. He is not only our school and benefits advisor, but he’s like family to many of us.”
Rincon said, on behalf of the club, that it is a pleasure working hand in hand with Jose and they are blessed to have him as an advisor.
“It truly is a pleasure working with a fellow veteran that has the same values in life and commitment to helping others,” said Rincon.
Before coming to TSTC, Villegas graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies Composite. Upon graduating, Villegas said he did “odd” jobs here and there, before working in the mental health field for veterans and finding his home at TSTC.
“It’s been different transitioning from mental health to higher education, but it’s really exciting,” said Villegas. “Speaking with veteran students and their dependents, and helping them continue their education is a very rewarding career for me.”
Villegas said he hopes to continue as the lead advisor for the Veteran Students Alliance Club and see the club grow and prosper on campus and within the community.
“Words really cannot express the gratitude I feel toward them submitting my nomination,” said Villegas. “I want to give them a big thank you and hopefully we find more success as a team. They’re great students always willing to go out of their comfort zone to complete projects and are really good at letting the community know that we are there for them.”
For the second year in a row, the Veteran Students Alliance Club also won the Service Project of the Year Award for their school supply drive for the students of Dishman Elementary.
For more information on the Veterans Center and the services offered call 956-364-4386.