The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District’s Barrientes Middle School celebrated its 10-year anniversary Wednesday by inviting the school’s namesake to participate in the festivities.
Hundreds of students, teachers, staff, board members and community leaders honored Sgt. Francisco Barrientes, whom they affectionately called their “hero,” for his volunteer efforts at the school and for having survived a traumatic injury during the Vietnam War.
“I was wounded in Vietnam in 1969 on June 20th,” Barrientes said. “I got a gunshot wound to the face and the bullet went in and down. And as it was going down, it ruined my left vocal cord and it also ruined my esophagus.”
Barrientes said that he felt very thankful for the celebration and that he hoped to inspire students. “Students of the school district, never give up,” he said. “I still feel the same way I felt 10 years ago. Seeing the people here, the staff members (and) my family, it’s just like 10 years ago have gone by real fast.”
Sgt. Francisco Barrientes also received two proclamations during the ceremony. One from the City of Edinburg and the second from the Texas House of Representatives.
“They are thankful for having you here to be a part of this campus,” said Edinburg C.I.S.D. Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez. “You are the one that everyone looks up to here at Barrientes.”
“We all remember Mr. Barrientes at L.B.J.,” said Edinburg C.I.S.D. School Board Member Carmen Gonzalez. “So, we knew that he was an individual that out of the goodness of his heart after going through what he went through to keep us all safe here in the United States (that) it was an easy decision to name this school after a man that has proven beyond any doubt that he is most deserving of this honor.”
One of the themes going on throughout the event, was people saying what an inspiration Sgt. Francisco Barrientes was to them and having this school named after him.
“It is just a beautiful feeling knowing that I have left a little bit of my imprints on the students of the Edinburg School District,” Barrientes said.