Hometown Heroes: Ralph Villarreal, Jr.

Ralph Villarreal, Jr.

By Joan Frances | Photos by Ann’s Photography –

The Raymond Freeman American Legion Post 942 is the oldest veteran post in Sugar Land. When it opened its doors in 1959, the purpose was, and still is, to serve the needs of veterans and their families. Volunteers donate their time to help these American heroes get back to living a normal life, from financial assistance to providing a haven. One veteran who generously is a patron and volunteers many hours of work to help his fellow veterans is Ralph Villarreal, Jr.

Villarreal has been married for the past 42 years to Frances, and they have two children. They are life-long residents of Rosenberg. In 1973, Villarreal was drafted to the armed services during his senior year in high school. Not knowing which branch of service he was going to, he decided to join the Marine Corps before his draft. He was stationed at Paris Island in South Carolina and worked as a heavy equipment engineer. Next, Villarreal was assigned to work in the Communications Division in Okinawa. He served his country for two years and then married soon after he came back home to Fort Bend.

First Vice-Commander Mike Velasco and Ralph Villarreal, Jr. awarding a scholarship to Elsik High School ROTC Cadet Major Kler Soe.

For the past seven years, Villarreal has battled and won against cancer. He joined the Legion because he needed help with his benefits and quickly saw the call for volunteers. The first three months, Villarreal served as a member, then he served as financial officer for a year. “I really enjoy volunteering at the American Legion because it’s all about veterans helping veterans,” shared Villarreal. “When a veteran visits our post, my main objective is to hear them out with whatever issues they may have and give them hope that there is a remedy for just about any problem they may be facing. I feel our post is a sanctuary where veterans come and be at peace with each other.”

Villarreal is on his second year as Commander. “My job is to oversee all operations of the Post 942, which include holding monthly meetings, scheduling hall rentals, volunteering during our hours of operation, planning fundraising events, and of course, helping veterans with health, housing and financial benefits just to name a few. During my tenure we have added The Sons of the Legion. These members include males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military. Although Sons has its own membership, the organization is not a separate entity; it is a program of the American Legion.”

The Amateur (Ham) Radio program is another effective form of communication Ralph is working on with veterans. “We will be working with the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management and reaching out to veterans who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” said Villarreal. “Also, for the first time in years, we are giving $3,000 in scholarships to children of our local veterans. I am very proud of our Post and our members. Together, we have made significant accomplishments. We will continue to be supportive and available to all of our veterans who come to the Post as a thank you for the time they served our country.”

In addition to his commitment and generous volunteer work with the American Legion, Villarreal is a lifetime member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, lifetime member and past director of the Fort Bend County Fair, past board member of the YMCA, past board member of the Lamar Educational Awards Foundation and past President of the Fort Bend County Vaqueros Trail riders. Thank you, Ralph Villarreal, Jr., for serving our country and continuing to substantially donate your time to helping other people.

We will continue to be supportive and available to all of our veterans who come to the Post as a thank you for the time they served our country.”  – Ralph Villarreal, Jr.