HISD hosts ceremony in honor of Armando Leal Jr.’s induction in to the Legion of Valor

Harlandale ISD officials, students, sailors and military veterans attended a moving ceremony in honor of Armando Leal Jr.’s induction in to the Legion of Valor at Leal Middle School on Oct. 27.

Armando Leal Jr., whom Leal MS is named after, attended Leal MS and Harlandale HS before enlisting in the Navy during the Vietnam War. It was in September of 1967 when Leal Jr. rendered medical aid to his Marine Corps unit for two hours, even though he was gravely wounded himself, and refused to be evacuated.

Through his actions of protecting the wounded, he significantly and undoubtedly saved lives. For his extraordinary heroism at the cost of his own life, he received posthumously the Navy Cross, our country’s second highest decoration for valor in combat.

The Leal family graciously accepted the Legion of Valor membership certificate, which was presented by Retired Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Don Mason, a Navy Cross recipient, and past national commander and present San Antonio chapter commander of the Legion of Valor.

“On behalf of the Leal family, I want to thank the Legion of Valor very much for including Armando in the ranks of this most prestigious organization and honoring us with this beautiful certificate award,” Brother Ricardo Leal said. “It is something that we will treasure as a confirmation of the exceptional person that Armando was and as a tribute to his heroism.”

The Legion of Valor is the most unique and prestigious veterans’ organization in existence today. 

 “There are only 600 of us nationwide who are living today,” Mason said. “To be a member of this organization, one must have our nation's highest or second highest combat decoration for valor – the Medal of Honor, the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross or the Air Force Cross.”

The Leal family proceeded to present the beautiful certificate to Leal MS to be placed alongside Leal Jr.’s other declaration as they believe it is the best way to honor his memory and inspire students.

“To the students here with us, we hope that Armando Leal Jr. can be an inspiration to you all to be the very best person you can be,” Ricardo Leal said.

Leal MS Principal Geraldine Balleza accepted the certificate on behalf of the school.

“Thank you Leal family, for your generosity and trust in our school to care for this most prestigious award. We will preserve and proudly display this certificate in memory of an American hero,” Principal Balleza concluded.

HISD hosts ceremony in honor of Armando Leal Jr.’s induction in to the Legion of Valor
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