An “ordinary” extraordinary story

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Here’s a quick story submitted to us via email (yourstories@ketc.org) that I think shows why this project has moved us all in such a short period of time:

My father Benserlao Fuentes was born in 1912 in Fort Stockton, Texas and served with the U.S. Army in Europe as a litter bearer. He was a second generation Texan as his father was also born in Fort Stockton, Texas, as I was also. My father served for 3 years and yet he knew very little, if any English. I have no idea how he did it. Thinking about it after I was older, I realized that while he could not speak any English, he was able to understand enough to be able to do what he was told. I remember he said that he was taught how to shoot a rifle and for the rest of life he was a very good shot. He learned how to be tough in the Army. After the war he worked as a laborer for the Santa Fe Railroad and the work he did meant that he was always hurting his hands or back or something but he did not miss any days. He received several medals but none of them were very important, I’m sure they were medals that just about every solider gets (i.e.. Good conduct, campaign medals, etc). He left a wife back home while he went to war and when he returned in 1945, I was conceived and I was born in 1946. My father’s army career was not anything extra-ordinary, he was just an ordinary man who served his country to the best of his abilities.

I wasn’t sure what you are looking for, but I am very proud of my father for all the sacrifices he endured for a country that now in some places, since he could not speak English, he would not be allowed to live.

Thanks,

Manuel R. Fuentes

The parts I love:

  • “I wasn’t sure what you are looking for” (this is EXACTLY what we are HOPING for)

  • “My father served for 3 years and yet he knew very little, if any English.”/”…he was just an ordinary man who served his country to the best of his abilities.” (I don’t see anything ordinary about what his father did)

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