by NICOLE LOPEZ//Sports Editor
Flooded streets and cars underwater were among the sights a South Plains College student saw after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.
Victor Madrid joined the National Guard in February 2014. He says the reason why he joined was because his friend wanted him to.
“I did it because he was a really good friend, and I didn’t want him to do it alone,” says Madrid.
The Friday before Hurricane Harvey hit, the National Guard was asking for volunteers, so Madrid decided he wanted to do it. But, he ended up changing his mind because he didn’t want to fall behind in school.
“I changed my mind because school was about to start,” explains Madrid. “But that Monday, on the first day of school, they told me everyone was activated to go. So I had to tell my professors that I would be going to Houston.”
Madrid and his company flew out of Lubbock and landed at Camp Swift in Oklahoma. They qualified for weapons again before going to Houston.
“The flooding was pretty bad,” explains Victor Madrid. “Before we went, we had to put a piece of tape on our vehicles which indicated if the water passed the tape you were at risk for flooding your vehicle, and it easily passed that. The flooding was able to reach the top of a RV.”
Madrid explains the National Guard separated the companies into two. He went to Katy and Houston, while the other company went to patrol in Beaumont and Vidor.
“Our main thing was security and patrol,” says Madrid. “They already had enough people doing aid and help. We went there to stop looters and show presence of power. We went there and showed that even though we’re [in Houston] helping, you still have to follow the rules.”
According to Madrid, the parts of the city of Houston weren’t affected. However, the little towns surrounding Houston were affected because they were closer to the water.
“Beaumont didn’t have any running water and electricity for two weeks,” recalls Madrid. “There was also a chemical plant that was on the verge of exploding because of the flooding. The hurricane knocked out the generators and the backup generators, and the chemicals needed to be a certain temperature. Since the generators weren’t working, they couldn’t keep it sustained.”
Madrid spent two weeks in Houston. He says the National Guard decided to send the college students home, which is why he returned. However, the majority of the National Guard members stayed.
Madrid signed an eight-year contract with the National Guard, and he is currently serving his third year as a 68 Whiskey, which, in civilian terms, means he is a combat medic.
“I actually didn’t want to be a medic,” says Madrid. “I wanted to be infantry with my friend. They told me I couldn’t be infantry because my ASVAB score was too high, and they didn’t want to waste a high score on a basic infantryman. So, they started listing other jobs that were available, so I chose medic.”
According to Madrid, to be a medic you have to be EMT certified. The EMT course training is done in basic training, a six-month course compacted into six weeks.
“Being a medic has its ups and downs,” says Madrid. “Basically, we just take care of the infantry guys. I remember plenty of nights where I had to stay up past 3 a.m. just helping guys. It just depends on the injury.”
Born in Portales, New Mexico, Madrid moved to Amherst with his family in 2010 and graduated from Amherst High School in 2013. In the fall of 2013, he enrolled at SPC to start his basics.
Madrid says he hopes to graduate from SPC in December, with plans to attend Texas Tech University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
“It’s just something about talking to people that I really like,” explains Madrid. “My plan is to go into forensic or clinical psychology, depending on what career path I choose.”