Retired Master Sgt. Jerry Caballero would rather keep busy helping community members, soldiers and their families than sit around his house and “go stale.”
“You have to get involved. You have to keep yourself moving,” said Caballero, who’s volunteered at events from Belton to Fort Hood. “If you sit at home and vegetate, you’re not going to get much accomplished.”
While covering events, I saw Caballero many times but didn’t speak with him until August during a meeting at the Bob Gilmore Senior Center for seniors who travel across the U.S.
Initially drawn by his enthusiastic outlook on life, love of adventure and willingness to help others, it always made me smile to run into a familiar face and take a break from being a fly on the wall while covering events.
During the holiday season, I saw him numerous times across Central Texas at various motorcycle toy runs, which he’s been involved with for about 20 years.
A motorcycle enthusiast, Caballero is the chairman of the Tri-County Toy Run, which raised $16,000 and collected 87 large boxes of toys and 21 bicycles to donate to about 8,400 underprivileged and neglected children in Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties.
He also rides for the Patriot Guard Riders when he can, is fundraising chair for the American Red Cross at Fort Hood, a life member of the Disabled American Veterans and a life member of the American Legion Post 133, which organized a free mini-rodeo Wednesday for more than 5,000 Central Texas students.
I ran into Caballero twice last week and was impressed by his involvement in improving the lives of those around him, regardless of how small a difference it makes.
“I’m helping a little bit here, a little bit there,” he said. “I just want to help. It’s not difficult.”
Whether retired or a full-time worker, Caballero encourages residents to come out of their shells and spare an hour or two every week or month to help others.
It’s a great way to meet new people and make a difference in the community, he said. “What little I’m able to do, I’d like to do it.”