Retired Army Sergeant & Vietnam vet is a champion of causes & character!
Latino Alliance is proud to bring you this brief biography of our “Champion of Character” Gumersindo Gomez. Gumersindo’s strong sense of duty, positive attitude, vision, and fearless leadership have led him to many great accomplishments over the years. And, he’s not done yet! Latinos everywhere can take inspiration from his success!
Gumersindo Gomez was born in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico. He was the third child in a family of five. At the age of 17, Gumersindo left Puerto Rico and went to live in New York City. On June 30, 1966, he joined the US Army where he spent the next 20 years.
His first assignment after his military training was in the Republic of Vietnam where he served with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade 3rd Bn 21st Inf. from December 1966 to December 1967. After serving in Vietnam, Gumersindo had numerous other assignments in his military career, including drill sergeant and first sergeant. He served in Germany for two tours, Ft. Dix, NJ, for three tours, and Ft. Ord, California, for one tour. He also served in the Republic of Honduras. After 20 years of service, he retired from the Army, and settled in Springfield, MA, with his wife Eva who is a native of Springfield. There, they raised their children.
Shortly after arriving in Springfield, Gumersindo, along with other Vietnam Veterans, founded the Puerto Rican Veterans Association of Massachusetts, Inc. on July 1, 1987. Today, the organization is known as the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Massachesetts, Inc. It serves all Massachusetts Veterans and their families, and at present has the only bilingual State Veterans Outreach Centers in the region, with locations in Springfield and Boston, Mass. In addition, the Centers have two homeless Veterans Transitional Homes. The Centers are known to be the only non-profit, bilingual veterans outreach centers in the continental US and Puerto Rico, serving veterans and their families, mainly with tax dollars. The organization has always served veterans of all backgrounds. At present, 70% of all clients are Caucasian, 25% are African American and 5% are Hispanics and others.
Currently, Gumersindo is working on a project to construct a three-story building with 32 efficiency units at 281 Franklin Street in Springfield to house needy veterans.
Gumersindo also has been extremely involved in significant community projects. In 1989, he founded the Puerto Rican Heritage Association, known for their yearly Puerto Rican cultural celebrations such as the Springfield Puerto Rican Day Parade, Puerto Rican Heritage Month activities including the raising of the Puerto Rican Flag in front of Springfield City Hall, the Three Kings Day Celebration at the Shriner’s Hospital, and the Miss Puerto Rican Day Parade Pageant.
In 1996 he established the first “Hogar Crea” drug and alcohol program in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This program is located in Springfield and serves 14 men, helping them to become drug and alcohol free during their 2-year stay.
Gumersindo was also instrumental in bringing to the Springfield area the first Boy Scouts of America Hispanic youth & family outreach program, Impacto Latino, which comprised ten scout units with over 200 members. He served as volunteer chairman of Impacto Latino for over ten years.
Gumersindo serves as a member of the Governor’s Veterans Advisory Committee in Boston, MA. He is past member of the Minority Veterans Committee at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington DC. He serves on the Executive Board of Western Mass Council Boy Scouts of America, is President of Massachusetts Reborn Center, a Drug & Alcohol program, and is Past President and founder of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 866. Also, Gumersindo is a Certified Service Representative for Veterans through VVA, one of two reps in western Massachusetts. He is also an active board member of Union Church, and serves as an Advisory Board member of Latino Alliance. In addition, he serves on the national steering committee of Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance.
Latino Alliance proudly salutes Don Gumersindo for his service to his country, its Veterans, the community, and Latinos everywhere!