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LA JOYA — La Joya Independent School District dedicated one of their newest schools, Domingo Treviño Middle School, on Oct. 21 honoring a former prisoner of war who dedicated his life to his country and community.
During the dedication, a lone chair symbolizing Treviño sat on the stage draped with a POW flag and a single red rose while Treviño’s granddaughter, Dr. Sandra Guerra, shared his history.
Treviño, the eldest of three children, was born to Teofilo and Ester Garza Treviño on July 4, 1915 in Las Nuevas, now Bentsen State Park. He attended Tabasco Consolidated Independent School District, now LJISD, through the fifth-grade; he left school to help his father work on the family farm.
In 1938, Treviño married Elena Villarreal and moved to Ojo de Agua, now known as Abram, farming and raising livestock. Treviño also took on jobs clearing brush and planting citrus.
At 29, Treviño responded to a draft notice and joined the U.S. Army. At the time, his wife was pregnant with their third child.
After Treviño completed his basic training he was moved to Maryland, and then shipped to the front lines in France along the Rhine River.
After receiving shrapnel wounds to his leg, Treviño, among with others, was captured by Germans on Nov. 25, 1944 becoming a prisoner of war. With him were three Rio Grande Valley soldiers Brijido Torrez and Jose Gorena of Mission and Arnulfo Cano from La Feria.
The prisoners were held in a camp near Berlin. During captivity, they were assigned to work crews digging a tunnel through the mountains during the bitter cold.
On May 7, 1945, a French POW overheard guards say Berlin was under fire and Adolf Hitler was dead. The following day, German soldiers fled the camp and prisoners left in search of allied forces.
The POWs eventually made it into Czechoslovakia where they were transferred to an American Consulate authority. They were picked up by U.S. Army trucks before being flown to France.
After returning home that summer, Treviño received an honorable discharge on Nov. 16, 1945.
While not tending to his farm and livestock, Treviño operated a small tavern, worked at a produce packing shed and drove a school bus for LJISD.
In 1962, he began working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the former Moore Airbase near Mission in the Screwworm Eradication Program. He worked there until retirement in 1981.
Treviño continued farming with his eldest son, Reynaldo, until his death on Aug. 17, 2005 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
“We feel like he is still with us,” Guerra said. “We now believe he is looking over us, and we now believe he will be looking over you all as well.
“For the students that will attend this school today and in the future, please live your life with dignity, honor and service as my grandfather did. As you now will represent his name every day.”
Board President Jose “Fito” Salinas explained that the selection of school names can be a difficult task, but the committee has to make a decision.
“Who would not make the decision to name a school after a man like Domingo Treviño, a tremendous man? I want everyone that walks in this school to know the story of Domingo Treviño,” Salinas said.
Irene Garcia, LJISD board vice president, asked Guerra to write Treviño’s story for a book so every student can read the story of Domingo Treviño and not forget who he was.
Principal DaLee Garcia said she wants to make sure every student that walks the hallways of Treviño Middle School to know the values that Treviño lived by: honor, courage and perseverance.
“These values exemplified his life as he fulfilled his roles as soldier, husband, father and grandfather,” Garcia said. “Live with honor, be a courageous learner, do not let barriers stop you and persevere until you accomplish your goals.”
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.