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A lifelong Texan of many generations (my first confirmed ancestors arrived in Texas about 1820-24), I was born in Brown County in 1949.

My family was poor while I was growing up. I got my first real job when I was 11 years old working at a Corpus Christi marina for a dollar a day! That was 7 days a week when school was out, and it seemed like a ton of money to me. I also got tips from customers, which could more than double my salary at times. That let me buy school clothes for the next year and take in a weekly movie (25 cents with a coke and popcorn or candy!).

I served a tour in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne Divisions. When I came home, I worked anywhere I could find a job until I taught myself how to weld and went into the construction industry as a pipe welder. I went to work at the Amoco Refinery in Texas City where I worked 34 years as a welder, supervisor, and apprentice coordinator before retiring in 2009..