By Olivia MendozaAugust 22, 2008
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas --- Manuel Prado and his late wife Consuelo, proud parents of 10 children, worked very hard to keep their loving family together by making sure no child missed out on what the others had.
Out of 10 siblings, six joined the military and only one continued to stay Army Strong - Lt. Col. Marie Prado, from the U.S. Army Physical Evaluation Board here.
Prado was the fifth child from the family of 10 and her late brother Alfredo L. Prado, known to others as "Freddie," was the sixth child. The two siblings were very close.
She recalls when they were kids that Freddie was the over-protector who did not want other boys to talk to her. She described him as a carefree, spirited person who joked and played around.
Freddie joined the Army and became a combat medic; however, his life was cut short before it truly began.
The family lost a beloved brother, son and friend in a motorcycle accident in 1978, but recalls the love he had for the Army and how motivated he was to make something with his life.
After her brother's accident, Prado never thought of joining the Army, but she remembered the times Freddie would talk about joining the service and wanted to use the GI Bill to go to school to become a psychiatrist.
Her dream was to study and become an attorney.
"It never crossed my mind about being in the Army until my college professor/adviser recommended me and said I would enjoy it and would be good at it," she said.
Prado joined the Army in 1983 and felt like she was reliving the movie "Private Benjamin." In 1985 she was commissioned at Trinity University in San Antonio. She made a promise to herself that if she made it to lieutenant colonel, she would start a scholarship fund in honor of her brother.
Prado made it to lieutenant colonel in 2005, and in 2007, she contacted their high school alma mater and organized an "Alfred L. Prado Scholarship" fund at Memorial High School, San Antonio, as a tribute to her brother.
She wanted to make the community aware that "it does not matter where you are from, how you are raised or whether you don't have the economic means, you can still do it," Prado said. "With my brother's scholarship, students will have the opportunity to have a chance in education, life and be able to explore out of their element."
Three students were honored with the Alfred L. Prado Scholarship for the first time June 5. The first recipient, Martin Pena, received $500, and the second and third, Bianca Peralto and Juan Espinoza, each received $250.
"The students were pleased and proud to receive the scholarship money for school. Lt. Col. Prado's contribution to the community was well received and we are pleased that the commemoration of her brother's memory will continue for the students at Memorial High," said Theresa Fisher, lead counselor, Memorial High School.
"To have selected the first three students for the scholarship was absolutely a dream come true. It was always what I have imagined when I first came into the Army ... to have my brother's name recognized forever," Prado said.
"My dad was so proud to hear what I have done in honor of his son; it was certainly a painful memory for the family, no one talked about Freddie until now," she said. "Just knowing that Freddie's name is out there is making a difference in someone's life is truly a blessing."