McALLEN — The legacy of DPS trooper and Marine Corps veteran Moises Sanchez hung heavily over a Veterans Day ceremony at Dorothea Brown Middle School in McAllen on Monday.
Sanchez, whose daughter attends Brown, died earlier this year after sustaining gunshot wounds in the line of duty.
Veterans who attended, many of them currently serving as DPS troopers, were recognized after a few patriotic tunes played by students.
Sanchez’s son, Zachary Sanchez, spoke to the assembly about the example of selfless service displayed by veterans.
“The biggest example and the main reason we’re gathering here is because of our veterans,” he said. “They are the biggest example of selfless service. They answered the call to duty to go ahead and one day possibly lay down their lives for their fellow servicemen and their country.”
Sanchez said that although his father loved his time in the military, service was what ultimately called him away from it.
“Unfortunately, his dad had a stroke and became paraplegic and his mom was diabetic, and they were struggling to take care of themselves, so my dad ended up leaving the Marine Corps, which at the time was his love, to take care of his family.” he said. “Despite my dad leaving the Marines, he ended up continuously serving his family.”
Sanchez said that it isn’t necessary to join the military to embody principles that his father and other veterans represent.
“It doesn’t need to be in big ways, like giving your life,” he said. “Sometimes when your little brother is bored and wants to play, instead of you going out and doing your own thing, you set aside your Fortnite, you set aside your TV and your video games, whatever, so you can go ahead and spend time with family, and that alone is selfless service.”
Brown Principal Alfredo Gutierrez says the school chose Sanchez to speak because of his ability to relate to the students.
“He’s about their age group, and I think he made it easier for them to understand about how they can begin now, at their age, to live a life of service,” he said. “Putting down the video games for a little bit and spending time with your little brother and sister, so I think he made it relatable to them and hopefully we start seeing them, as they get older, living a life of service.”
Gutierrez said that Trooper Sanchez’s commitment to service and concern for the community was evident from the first time he met him, at a sixth grade orientation last year.
“Those always go without a hitch, I deliver my spiel and tell the incoming parents about the school, and he was in the back asking a million and one questions about the safety of the school, and I was thinking who the heck is this parent?” he said. “It goes smooth all the time, and he had all these questions.”
Frequently, Sanchez would spend part of his morning parked outside the school in his patrol car.
“You just felt safer because he was out there,” Gutierrez said.