For The Madera Tribune
Madera Community College Center student Jorge Orozco is helping people across the state during the COVID-19 pandemic through his military obligations.
Madera Community College Center student Jorge Orozco has spent a lot of his time out of town during the coronavirus pandemic helping those in need.
Orozco is a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard, and has served the country for 15 years. He has been in the San Jose and Central Coast areas for almost two months, packing boxes of produce for food distribution to those in need. Serving others in times of emergency was one of the main reasons he enlisted.
“The National Guard is a state component. This means, in case of a natural disaster or any events that may affect my community, it allows the governor to call upon us to do our part and assist,” said Orozco. “That was the selling point for me, to be part of my community as a citizen soldier.”
Orozco and his fellow soldiers are packing about 80 pallets a day. Each pallet has 50 boxes of food weighing 30 pounds apiece. The food bank distributes to about 250,000 residents on a normal monthly basis in the San Jose area alone. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, that number tripled as far as demand and supply. Combine his military duties with online classwork, student government (Associated Student Government Vice President) and taking care of his four children, Orozco has his hands full — and then some.
“I was a bit apprehensive about the new challenge (joining ASG) I had just taken on,” Orozco explained. “But I’m very proud to say being involved in student government at MCCC has further piqued my interest in becoming more involved in my community and helped me focus more on the type of career I’d like to have after my time in the military is gone. Being able to represent MCCC is a great honor, especially in this unique time in our history and way of life.”
Jorge is a studio arts major. He has art projects in various mediums such as canvas paintings, penwork, graffiti, photography, and, his specialty, pyrography (wood burning). He plans on transferring to Fresno State for his Master’s Degree next year, but his work at MCCC is far from over. Orozco is going to run for Associated Student Government President in the fall, and eventually wants to come back to Mountain Lion country to work as a veteran counselor or art instructor. His schedule is full, to say the least, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“It has been quite the challenge adapting to online classes as well as maintain my duty status at the various missions I currently have,” he said. “I not only have this commitment towards my country, but I owe it to my community to present the best version of myself. After all, it’s this community that shaped who I am today.”