Family remembers highest-ranking Sergeant Major from San Benito

Staff Writer

Ruben Vela

Ruben Vela

While Command Sergeant Major Ruben Vela is being laid to rest at Rio Grande Valley State Veteran Cemetery, his friends, family and fellow U.S. Military personnel are taking the time to remember the high-ranking serviceman.

“I’m a proud son,” says Emilio Vela of his father, a San Benito native. “It’s a great honor that my dad was able to serve for my country.”

Emilio added that several veterans who knew his father have shared fond memories of Ruben, who died at the age of 58 on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

“I have a text message from one of his troops. He says, ‘Your dad was the first one to give me my first coin,’ and a coin means a lot when a Command Sergeant Major gives it to you,” Emilio said.

According to Emilio, his father also served as a mentor for many of his troops, because he strongly believed that everyone could achieve greatness.

While his time spent amongst the military ranks, including one of the highest possible, Command Sergeant Major, earned him the respect of his family and peers, it’s his dedication to his wife and children that truly stands out for Emilio.

“I missed my dad a lot when he was out,” said Emilio. “It was like — he was away from home, but he would always call us. … He would always put us first. …We never lacked anything.”

Victor Garza, Chair of the San Benito Veteran Advisory Board, shared his story of his meetings with Ruben.

“This young man is from San Benito — born and raised —graduated from here,” said Garza.

“Command Sergeant Major … that’s the highest you can go as an enlisted man,” said Garza. “It’s not every day that somebody puts in 38 years of service.”

“We both went to elementary school together. We’re not in the same grade, but I knew him from the neighborhood.”

Garza said that back in grade school, he considered Ruben to be a “pachuco,” a term often used to categorize the fashion and lifestyle associated with lowrider cars and zoot suits.

To Garza’s surprise, he en-countered Ruben at a Veteran’s Day function, and the two caught up with each other.

“Here’s a person I haven’t seen … since he graduated high school,” said Garza. In the years since, Ruben had enlisted in the U.S. Army and earned his Command Sergeant Major rank.

Garza, inspired by Ruben’s story, had him slated to speak at an upcoming Veteran’s Day event. Unfortunately, Ruben lost a six-month battle with cancer before he got the chance.

Still, Emilio takes solace in knowing that Ruben has been reunited with his mother, who died in March.

“There is true love,” said Emilio. “I’m okay with it, because they’re [his parents] together.”

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    • ZOE on March 30, 2022 at 4:53 pm
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    emilo vela is dead

    • Raymond Garcia on September 3, 2014 at 9:34 pm
    • Reply

    In view of all these, what can we say? If God is for us who can be against us? We have complete history through him who loves us! For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love. Neither death or life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present or the future, neither the world above or the world below. There is nothing in all creations that will never be able to separate us from the love of God. Which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord. Death is as natural as life., its part of the deal we made. Make peace with the living as long as we can love each other and remember the feeling of love we had. We can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on in the hearts of everyone you have touched. Natural while you were here, death ends in life not in relation- ship…..Sometimes you cannot believe what you see. you have to believe what you feel and if you are ever going to have other people trust you. You must feel that you can trust them too even when you are in the dark, even when you are falling. Thank you my brother for the knowledge and wisdom you gave me, to change my life., it changed me forever. You will always be in my heart a true friend and a real brother, now you are in peace in our father’s house. Fell we see each other again…. Psalms 23 the lord is our shepard
    LOVE YOU LITTLE BROTHER —-By Raymond Garcia

    • HILDA GARCIA on September 3, 2014 at 5:57 am
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    Our Condolences to Familia Vela, Ruben was a dear friend of my family specially my brother Raymond which he was his best friend. With all respect Ruben was there through our sorrow when we needed him the most. He was known to me as a respectful person, and he will never be forgotten, we shared a lot of memories and pain with him. My brothers best friend! Rest In Peace Ruben.

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