After 20 years of service in the Army during Vietnam and with roles as both a VFW Department of Texas State Commander and a National Home trustee, you would have thought that Eliseo “Al” Cantu had done more than his share for our nation and its veterans.
But when Al visited the National Home in the late ’80s, it was an eye-opening experience for him; one that sparked a decades-long commitment to becoming more deeply engaged with our cause.
“On that visit, I learned what a jewel we have in the National Home. But I also quickly learned what serious challenges we had. I made it my mission to volunteer, advocate, donate and work to provide help, hope and honor to those children and families who seek and need assistance. I knew that it was the right thing to do, and I think I’m a better person today for doing that.”
As Al devoted more of his time and energy to the Home, he gained insights about the incredible personal growth that the children and families experience here.
“I’ve seen shy children grow into confident, appreciative and responsible members of their family. Their involvement in projects such as 4H, visiting veterans in hospitals, honoring students in school and earning scholarships to colleges and institutes of higher learning are all made possible by the National Home volunteers, leadership and the staff.”
The graduation programs held at the Home each year have been especially memorable for Al. He recalls, “I’ve experienced moments where the mom says that she never in her life believed that she would graduate from high school… but because of the National Home, she made it. What a powerful moment that is and it speaks volumes for our volunteers who help make those moments possible.”
In his free time, Al enjoys golf, reading and going on sea cruises with his family and friends. But there’s a special place in his heart for helping others. He offers these encouraging words to those who are considering volunteering:
“If you’re a person with the very best intentions, then the National Home welcomes your desire to get involved and make a difference,” says Al. “You’ll gain the personal rewards of seeing a child and family in a happy, safe environment, working to make a go of it…all because you cared.”
Al has never looked back since making his decision to help the National Home so many years ago.
“The National Home is a cause where you can see positive results and provide a solid foundation for the future of our country. I am and will always be a strong advocate for our heroes and their families who served or are serving in our Armed Forces.”