Originally Posted by down_shift
I like the dusty foot term better. We have one in our Miami office. His story was amazing. I think his travels through Guatemala and southern Mexico were the hard parts. The rest into Texas was smooth sailing, well walking. Cool and sharp kid.
When you talk to immigrants who had to do it 'the hard way', the stories are pretty amazing. My family were immigrants from Mexico and one of my favorite stories is that of my grandfather. His parents came over as laborers and the good was that he was born an American citizen the bad was that he and his younger brother were orphaned. They lived on the streets and in an abandoned car at one point. They survived by working in the lettuce fields. He had problems with his feet because he was so poor growing up he owned no shoes and when he did they were hand me downs that were usually too tight. When he joined the military they put him behind a desk instead. Here is a little excerpt that my aunt wrote for him in remembrance:
Mr. Villarreal was born and raised in Brownsville. He joined the Army Air Corps six days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and served as a Sergeant in the China-Burma-India Theater. His GI benefits enabled him to attend law school at St. Mary’s and the South Texas College of Law and he became a licensed attorney in 1951. During his 50 years as an attorney, Raul was a general practitioner and handled criminal as well as civil matters. He was one of the first Hispanic attorneys to argue before the United States Supreme Court, successfully getting a murder conviction and death sentence overturned in the precedent setting case of Alvaro Alcorta vs. State of Texas. During his career, Mr. Villarreal served as legal counsel for the American GI Forum, a Hispanic civil rights group and also helped to establish the predecessor organization to the Mexican American Bar Association. Mr. Villarreal will be remembered for his kindness, compassion, wisdom, wit, tenacity and most of all, his intellect.
My grandpa was one of those lawyers that would work for free or nearly free. He would take payment from those who couldn't afford him in trade. Bags of fruit, baked goods and lawn care usually. His legacy of compassion and civic duty lives on in our immediate and extended family and I'm very proud of that. Many of my family members have jobs that help others in some way.
Several years ago I met a gentleman and hired him to work on my farm. He barely spoke English. He worked harder than three men combined and he did everything well. You could not put a machine or tool in front of him that he was not an expert in. He could fix and run anything! He obviously had a very hard life and when I asked his age he said he was 72. He lived with me and my family for two years and during that time I provided him with everything including health care. He had very few teeth and as a present I paid for him to have oral surgery and dentures made. I have never seen a man cry in that way before. He was overjoyed. He told me when he came over, he almost died along the way. He was so weak he could not move for several weeks and the skin on the bottoms of his feet completely fell off and had to be regrown. Good people who want to contribute should not have to nearly die trying to come here. We are a nation of immigrants.
And when I see a genuinely indigent or disabled person, I find a program and help them through whatever process is required for public assistance.