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Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Just a Thought" column continues in La Prensa of SA, 6-23

Just a Thought: Larry Romo
By Steve Walker

Continuing on my mission to write about local and national Hispanic icons for the past nine weeks, today, I choose my longtime friend and the current Director of the Selective Service appointed by President Barack Obama, Larry Romo.

While he is obviously a local, home grown icon, he serves at the pleasure of the President in his position overseeing the draft board, in Washington D.C. Although no one has been drafted in decades, the board is still in place should the United States choose to reinstate the draft. Men between the ages of 18 & 24 are still obligated to sign up at their local draft boards even though there is no draft. Failure to do so can cost a young man to be ineligible for student loans and possible scholarships.

Larry supervises a staff of 50 in D.C. and oversees all local boards in every state under his jurisdiction. He travels extensively across the country speaking to various military affiliated groups such as American Legions, VFWs and ROTC groups at colleges to include serving as Keynote Speaker at the recent Edgewood ISD Memorial Day celebration. 

Confirmed by the Senate he will continue to serve in the President’s second term until he chooses to step down or unforeseen circumstances prevail.

Before he was chosen by the President for his position, as a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel in San Antonio, he worked with the Air Force and Army in securing young men and women’s acceptance in the Air Force Academy or West Point. His was successful and instrumental in ensuring many young San Antonians with a dream to serve in the military attend those academies. Larry is a proud graduate himself of the Air Force Academy.

Over the years I have known Larry, he has been active in veteran’s issues. We have both been involved in some of the same veteran’s organizations. As members of the Texas Dem Vets we have testified before the Texas Senate on the issue of the Hazelwood Act which allows Texas Veterans 150 hours of tuition for college. He served a term as the President of the Texas Dem Vets.

When I served as the President of a local Bexar County Veteran’s group he was there standing along side of me supporting and offering sage advice on the issues.

More than just veteran’s issues; Larry was active in the community to include a run for City Council. Although he didn’t prevail, he was always supportive of me when I served as a councilman in Balcones Heights. He was and is always focused on the issues of the day.

A man of dignity and class I am proud of his accomplishments and the fact that I can call him friend.        

Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”

Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.

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