Dirty headstones, fallen American flags, trash and grass the height of a small child once littered San Jose Cemetery located in the rural eastern part of San Benito.
The sweltering 90 degree Texas heat didn’t stop the Veteran Student Alliance Club at TSTC from recently filling up trash bags and whacking away the weeds.
President of the Veterans Club, and Biology freshman Brian Rodriguez said that this cemetery cleanup is a way to give back to those who have served.
“There are a lot of veterans buried here,” said Rodriguez. “Nobody really keeps up with the cleanup, and we do have some members that live out here who have passed by and mentioned that it could look a lot better. When I became president of the club I knew that I wanted to tackle this project.”
Student Recruitment Representative Melissa Zamora, was also on deck to lend a helping hand.
“Cemeteries hold our loved ones. If we can provide a helping hand to keep these places safe and clean for families to visit, then we are absolutely making a difference.”
While TSTC students did most of the work, Rene Rodriguez, sergeant of arms for the Veterans Club, was proud of the effort not only made by the club, but also by a neighbor who was willing to lend a helping hand.
“We cut the grass and trimmed the trees around the headstones. One of the homeowners next door said that he was more than happy to help us get rid of any debris we picked up, and that was a big help,” he said. “During our next cleanup we hope to see familiar faces, and new faces, as well.”
Veterans Program Officer Jose Villegas was very proud of the work done by members of the organization.
“I was very happy with everybody’s effort. If it wasn’t for their hard work and commitment to giving back to the community, this cemetery may have remained neglected,” said Villegas. “Some of the students will be going back individually to see that the job is kept up. It’s an honor to make sure that the veterans who are resting here get the respect that they deserve.”
The next cemetery cleanup take place during the Fall 2016 semester. For more information or to volunteer, call the Veterans Center at 956-364-4386.
The Veteran Student Alliance Club prides itself on helping military veterans and family members with their transition into civilian life. For more information visit http://www.tstc.edu/veterans.