‘Integrity first’: Victor Martinez Jr.

RIO HONDO — For Victor Martinez Jr., Rio Hondo High School’s Air Force JROTC program has tempered him for life.

Now, Martinez plans to go into the military to serve his country and help raise money for his future.

“It’s a good start,” said Martinez, 17, a senior. “By joining the military it will help me out with the financials and it prepares you for what they expect from you in the military.”

Martinez plans to go on to a medical career.

In his freshman year, his sisters Yessenia and Selena helped lead him to join the school’s JROTC program.

“They said it was informative as to how things were in the real world,” said Martinez, the son of Victor and Maria Martinez of San Benito.

During his first year, he traveled to Kerrville to take a cadet leadership class.

“They talked about how to because a leader and how to communicate,” Martinez said. “It’s taught me how to become a better person, how to become the best you can be and how to be successful.”

The program has also helped forge traditional values.

“Integrity first is one of my favorites — and service before self,” Martinez said.

On the color guard, Martinez felt the honor of representing his country.

“I felt pride,” he said. “In front of the crowd, we stood tall showing the American and Texas flags.”

Last year, the program’s Aviation Honors Ground School named him Top Gun.

This year, he rose to the rank of cadet colonel.

“It was an honor,” Martinez said. “I took up the mantel of being a group commander.”

Ranked fourth in his class of 151 students while boasting a 3.81 grade-point average, Martinez plans to go on to a medical career.

First, he plans to study a pre-med curriculum at the University of Texas at San Antonio before entering the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio.

“I want to give back to the community,” Martinez said, “and the pay is good — I want to help my family.”