Wood Gormley Elementary School students and staff honored Joe Benavidez, 91, with a special memorial celebration and music performance Thursday to pay tribute to his military service during the Korean War. Benavidez, who has worked as a crossing guard at the school for 26 years, joined the U.S. Army in 1945. Following years of serving in occupied Japan, he went into combat as an infantryman during the Korean War.
The Santa Fe native said he was honored with the school performance.
“They went all out for me,” he said, shedding a few tears at one point. “I’m gratified.”
Asked what Veterans Day means to him, he said: “I’ll think about the ones we lost over there.”
Veterans Day is Saturday.
“I’m proud,” said Benavidez. “I served my country.”