Dozens of Del Rioans turned out to make sure United States Navy veteran Jesus Pedro Herrera was properly recognized for his service to this country.
The veteran was laid to rest on Friday morning at Sunset Memorial Cemetery. Nearly 80 people from all walks of life, including military members and law enforcement officers turned out to pay their respects for a man whose closest kin was a friend from enlistment.
Deacon David Scarbo and Pastor Arnoldo Menchaca oversaw the ceremonies, providing words of comfort and recognition for the people that turned out.
Scarbo shared some details about Herrera including that he was born in Del Rio on May 29, 1927 and passed away on Aug. 22 at the age of 92. Herrera served the U.S. Navy during World War ll before separating on June 18, 1946.
After his service, Herrera took care of his sister, Maria Herrera, until her passing on Feb. 24, 2014 at the age of 89. Neither sibling married and after his sister’s passing Herrera had no one to take care of him.
Due to multiple health conditions, Herrera remained in the care of Val Verde Nursing and Rehabilitation Center approximately since August 2014.
The efforts of Sunset Memorial Oaks Funeral Home and Val Verde County Veterans Service Office helped arrange for Herrera’s funeral service, and helped bring the public out to pay its respects.
Jaime C. Barrera, funeral director of Sunset Memorial Oaks Funeral Home, said his firm donated the service including the purchase of a cemetery plot because it was the right thing to do.
“Every human being deserves a proper burial, even more so we felt obligated because this was somebody who dedicated their time and their life for their service and to their country,” Barrera said.
Jose “Nene” R. Arredondo, a veteran who enlisted at the same time as Herrera, was honored as the recipient of the United States flag used for Herrera’s ceremony. Arredondo and Herrera grew up in the San Felipe neighborhood, according to Arredondo.
“I knew him since we were very young. It doesn’t feel nice that he’s gone, but it was nice to see he had a good funeral and I was able to attend,” Arredondo said.
County Veterans Service Officer Adrian N. Bitela said veterans such as Herrera cannot be forgotten by future generations.
“It’s important because it’s a part of our creed, every veteran creed; nobody gets left behind. I will never leave behind a fallen comrade,” Bitela said.
According to Bitela, to secure the future one must honor the past, as an example for future generations.
Members of the American Legion Post 595 fired a volley of rounds for the gun salute, which was soon followed by the playing of “Taps” by a member of the legion.
Following the ceremony, attendees passed by the coffin and paid their respects with flowers and salutes.