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Latino Veterans honored at Profiles in Courage event
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By Ernest Gurulé

Hispanic Herritage Series Part 1 of IV

Six Pueblo Latino Veterans will be awarded 2021 Profiles in Courage Awards by the Latino Veterans Profiles in Courage Committee. Awardees were selected based on nominations showing honorable discharge from the military, examples of service to country, church, community, family, veterans and other organizations.

Elena M. Allen, U.S. Army Imagery Specialist

Nominated by Jeremiah Blaha.

Ms. Allen served four and a half years in the U.S. Army. Ms. Allen served as an Imagery Specialist. and received the following medals and citation ribbons, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer’s Professional Development Ribbon, Army Services Ribbon Overseas Service Ribbon, CIA Certificate of Appreciation. After being honorably discharged from the Army, Ms. Allen enrolled in the CSU-Pueblo Teacher Education Program. Ms. Allen maintained an excellent GPA and was inducted as a member of Phi Alpha Theta. Participating in the Unity of Pillars City Wide Safety Summit, she continually devotes her time to the betterment of children’s lives in the greater Pueblo community. Prior to its closing Ms. Allen served as a volunteer for the adult suicide line here in Pueblo. Currently, and she is working as a mathematics instructor at Pueblo East High School.

Vences Arellano, U.S. Air Force

Nominated by Larry Alvarado.

Mr. Arellano is an honorably discharged Air Force veteran having served from August 14, 1962 to August 9, 1966 serving as a Medical Administration Specialist. Mr. Arellano earned the Air Force Good Conduct Medal. Arellano, known as Vinny he continues to serve the Pueblo community and his church, the Sacred Heart Cathedral. He has loved and cared for his family including his wife of 50 years, Viola Martinez Arellano. Mr. Arellano took the responsibility of raising his two grandsons and adopting his two great-grandsons because as he says “it was the right thing to do.” Mr. Arellano is well-known for building handicap ramps for people with special needs, especially for veterans. He has built 35 ramps and provided supplies and donating his labor. He is especially proud of providing a complete bathroom remodel and walk-in tub for an Afghanistan Veteran who lost both legs. Mr. Arellano is very active with kids groups. Since 2010 Mr. Arellano works selflessly on renovations for the Medal of Honor Drew Dix Park. He and his veteran friends raised over $2,000 for the park project.

Posthumously - Joseph M. Autobee, U.S. Air Force, WWII.

Nominated by Tom Autobee.

Joseph M. Autobee served his country from June 1943 to October 1945. His service included 20 air missions as a turret gunner on bombers from England to many targets in Germany. He served with the Army 8th Air Force, Second Air Division, 448th Bomb Group, which sustained heavy aircraft and air crew losses. Mr. Autobee was awarded the Good Conduct Medal (Army) 2 Air Medals, European African Medal Eastern Campaign Medal, Ribbon with 3 Bronze Stars, WWII Victory Medal and Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII. After his military service, Mr. Autobee served as Foreman at the Pueblo Army Depot for 35 years.

Posthumously – Henry R. Dominguez (KIA), U.S. Army, Korean War.

Nominated by Joe A. Dominguez.

Henry Dominguez was born in Barela, CO. and resided in Pueblo prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army. He was the youngest of his brothers and enlisted because he thought he could made a difference. He completed his training to become a combat Infantryman and deployed in support of the Korean War. PFC Dominguez was a soldier of K CO 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment/2nd Infantry Division. On September 16, 1950, while in a battle with the enemy, 23-year old PFC Dominguez made the ultimate sacrifice and was identified as Killed in Action (KIA). PFC Dominguez was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and earned numerous awards and medals.

David J. Jiron, U.S. Marine Corps.

Nominated by Lesha Jiron.

Mr. Jiron served in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1996, serving in Desert Shield Desert Storm from 1990-1991. He received the following awards: Sea Service Deployment with 2 Bronze Stars, National Defense Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, SW Asia Medal with 2 Bronze Stars, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal. Jiron has dedicated his post military service helping his fellow veterans and veteran organizations; Commander of American Legion Post 2 (2015 through 2018), Commander of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 2018-2019, Jr. Vice Commander for State of Colorado DAV 2016 and 2017, Sr. Vice Commander for State of Colorado DAV 2017 and 2018, Certified Veterans Service Officer for the State Colorado since 2013, helping veterans obtain benefits. Jiron has accumulated over 2500 volunteer hours and in April 2019 he spear-headed the opening of the DAV Chapter 2 Office after almost 50 years of not having a location. Dave continues to serve his fellow veterans by representing them at National and State conventions and many events and celebrations throughout the city, and state of Colorado.

John H. Martinez, U.S. Marine Corps.

Nominated by Marisa Oliva and Melissa Fluke.

Mr. Martinez served his country from October 1968 to October 1971. During the Vietnam War he was assigned to Da Nang, Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion of the 9th Marine Division. In July 1969, he was engaged in armed combat against VC and North Vietnam forces sustaining a wound from a grenade explosion. Mr. Martinez received medical attention inDa Nang Yokosuka Japan Navy Hospital and finally Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora. After a few months of hospital care he returned to active duty in December 1969. Awards and decorations earned by Mr. Martinez are the National Defense Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Purple Heart, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Meritorious Unit Citation, and Vietnam Campaign Medal. Martinez was born in Trinidad but lived most of his life in Pueblo. After completing his military service Martinez was married for 47 years and for 30 years he coached children from the Eastwood Heights neighborhood in volleyball, T-ball, 16 and under girls softball, football, soccer and baseball. Mr. Martinez currently serves on the Pueblo veterans Ritual Team on the Honor Guard for Pueblo veterans internment ceremonies.

Reservations for the Latino Veterans Profiles in Courage Awards Ceremony can by made by calling the Latino Chamber at 719-542-5513 to purchase tickets - $35 per person or contacting Committee





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