He was born in another land, but made this one his. He served the American flag and built a home and a family that made his community a better place. Isidro’s story is similar to that of hundreds of thousands of soldiers born abroad and who find in the US military not only a purpose, but also a way to reimagine themselves in a country that now they call their own.
We paid tribute to the memory of a Vietnam veteran, and honor his widow and his mother. Isidro Villanueva was born in Mexico in 1944 and moved to the United States when he was 19. It was a time of conflict and many were called to arms. First it was his brother, and two years later, at 21, it was Isidro’s turn.
After being Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army, Isidro got a job working at a meat packing plant and transitioned into civilian life. He married his wife Margarita, had two kids, and filled with love the home where he’d live for more than 50 years; a home that aged with them, and that ended up with many safety issues, including code violations that because of his limited means and physical condition, Isidro could not repair on his own.
That’s where HomeStrong USA came in, beginning repairs at the Villanueva’s about a month ago, which were completed when a team of volunteers knocked out a comprehensive list of repairs to their home, including: debris haul-away in the back yard, building of a new fence, and painting the exterior. Previous completed work to address the code violations included: conversion of room addition into an outdoor covered patio, installation of new windows, and concrete work. The mission is part of HomeStrong’s Heroes Home Repair Program, funded by State Farm and The Home Depot Foundation. Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, also assisted.
Sadly, just a few days into the project, Isidro passed away due to health complications and was not able to see and enjoy the completed project. But that did not stop us. We still moved forward with the work to honor Isidro, his life legacy, and to ensure that his wife and his mother, who live together, are left with a safe home.
“I’m so proud to have the husband I had. Everything he did was for his family. Having this work being done at this moment makes me believe that dreams really come true,” said Margarita, who adds: “When I see the work being done here, I dream of my husband. These are projects that he wanted to do himself, but couldn’t. I know that he is watching over us and is so happy with everything HomeStrong USA is doing for us.”
“We are honoring Isidro Villanueva by insuring that his family is left with a safe and healthy home that is free from any code violations,” stated Greg O’Donnell, Program Director. “This family has been through so much lately and we are proud to be there for them when they need it most.”