Presented with his flag from Walk of Honor

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

Family, friends and community leaders held a special ceremony at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice Thursday to welcome home Sgt. Florencio Hinojosa V, who recently returned after serving for a year in Iraq.

Standing with his wife, Aundrea, and sons Noah and Florencio VI, Hinojosa accepted a flag that had flown in his honor on the CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice Walk of Honor.

Hinojosa served in Kuwait and Iraq as part of the 217th Heavy Equipment Transportation Unit from September 2006 to September 2007. He also served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

During his most recent tour, his team provided security for convoys transporting supplies from Kuwait to Iraq and was recommended for a Presidential Citation Unit award for being the only unit to travel more than nine million miles transporting supplies.

"There was never a mission that we let down," Hinojosa said. "We constantly had people willing to go on missions, even though the roads were really bad."

Hinojosa said traveling in the convoys was difficult, dangerous work, and he has experienced lasting effects from injuries sustained during an improvised explosive device attack on one mission.

"During one of the blasts, I ended up getting really bad migraines," Hinojosa said. "I can barely walk a quarter of a mile because I get migraines."

Hinojosa said he volunteered for as many missions as he could and, after he was injured, he provided maintenance for the vehicles to ensure they would be in working order while transporting supplies.

State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles presented Hinojosa with a flag that was flown over the Texas Capitol, and thanked him for his service.

"Thank you to your family, as well, since we know your family serves along side you," Gonzalez Toureilles said.

"Thank you for your service to your country."

Alice Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez presented Hinojosa with a key to the city, and representatives of the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department also thanked Hinojosa for his service.

Representatives of the United Veterans Burial Association served as color guard for the ceremony and fired a 21-gun salute in Hinojosa's honor as he was presented with his Walk of Honor flag.

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice administrator Mark Casanova welcomed Hinojosa home and said he had not been forgotten while he was gone.

"Please accept this American flag as a gesture of our gratitude for your courage and bravery," Casanova said. "The flags serve as a constant reminder to each of us that while we enjoy our country's many privileges and freedoms, there are brave men and women, like Sgt. Hinojosa, who are fighting to protect those freedoms."