SINTON, TEXAS — A San Patricio County veteran received an early Christmas gift Tuesday; the gift of mobility.
Like so many aging veterans, 86-year-old Leonard Cantu is starting to have trouble moving around. He won’t however, have trouble getting in and out of his house thanks to a family friend and a group devoted to helping others.
Cantu enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1957 and trained at Ft. Benning and Ft. Campbell before serving as a paratrooper until 1959.
“I have 15 jumps, five night jumps and I was a sharpshooter on the rifle team,” said Cantu.
Cantu says his unit was on alert to go to Vietnam, but never got the call to go.
Cantu's lack of mobility actually didn't happen in the military. It was about two months ago when Cantu developed an infection in his legs while doing yard work.
“I was doing weed-eating and my neighbor had treated the fence with Round-Up,” said Cantu. “The weed-eater was picking up the stuff, mulching it and it went into my skin.”
The infection limited Cantu’s mobility. That’s when family friend Roland Guzman got involved.
“We were afraid he was going to fall down,” said Guzman.
Guzman volunteers for the Texas Ramp Project, a San Antonio based non-profit which builds ramps for people who need them.
"I’ve known Mr. Cantu for several years, back in the days when I lived in Corpus. So we decided let’s put him in there," said Guzman.
"He offered me the ramp and I said yes sir, I’ll take it," added Cantu.
This year, the Texas Ramp Project had a goal of building 100 miles of ramps. With materials donated by the Home Depot, who also provided a team of volunteers, Guzman and company built Cantu a pair of ramps Tuesday. An invaluable gift, during this season of giving.
“We’re giving them freedom by building these ramps,” said Guzman.
The Texas Ramp Project is funded across the state, except here in the Coastal Bend. Anyone interested in helping should click here.
In addition to Home Depot, South Texas Radiator provided the work crew with water and Gatorade, while Whataburger donated lunch for the workers.