Austin Archives - StoryCorps

A Neighbor’s Promise — A Blended Family Remembers Their Journey

In 2016, Glendon “Junior” Booth and his three young kids moved into an apartment building for families facing homelessness in Austin, Texas. Soon after, Jennifer Hidrogo, a single mom of five, became his neighbor.

The two families started leaning on each other. Jen’s kids would play with Junior’s, and the parents would stop and chat, while leaning up against their doors.

But within the year, Junior was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

Jen came to StoryCorps with her daughter, Charlee, and her neighbor’s daughter, Lily Rose, to talk about what happened next.

Kristopher Rios, Desiree Martinez- Iturralde, Emma Booth, LilyRose Hidrogo-Booth, Jennifer Hidrogo, Kayla Rios, Charlee Rios, Dalton Booth, and Azriel Rios the day of the adoption ceremony at the Travis County CourtHouse on August 16th, 2019.
Top Photo: Charlee Rios, Jennifer Hidrogo, and LilyRose Hidrogo-Booth at their StoryCorps interview in Austin, TX on March 13th, 2022. For StoryCorps.

Originally aired June 3rd, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

In the US 50 Years, a Man Reflects on His Arrival from Honduras

A half-century ago, Roy Daley was 23 years old and living in the capital of Honduras when a friend offered him a job in the United States. So he immigrated with little more than two shirts and a change of pants.

Roy came to StoryCorps with his wife, Ana, and his daughter, Lucy, to talk about his early days in America.

Top photo: Roy Daley with his wife, Ana Smith-Daley (L) and his daughter Lucy Figueroa (R) at the StoryCorps MobileBooth in Austin, TX. By Savannah Winchester for StoryCorps.

Originally aired November 23rd, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A Trump Supporter Finds a Surprising Ally at an Anti-Trump Rally

It was days after the 2016 election when Joseph Weidknecht, a Trump supporter sporting a sign that read “Proud to Be Deplorable” and a “Make America Great Again” cap showed up at a march protesting the election of Donald Trump in Austin, Texas.

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Amina Amdeen, a Muslim student at the University of Texas, was one of the marchers who came to the peaceful rally that day before part of the protest broke into violence.

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Though they come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, they came to StoryCorps to remember a moment that day that unexpectedly brought them together.

We’re presenting this conversation through One Small Step, StoryCorps’ new national effort to encourage people to engage in a conversation with someone they may not agree with politically. Learn more and participate.

Top photo: Amina Amdeen and Joseph Weidknecht pose near the Texas State Capitol building, where the two initially met when an anti-Trump protest turned violent on November 13, 2016. Photo by Catalin Abagiu for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Amina Amdeen speaks to a crowd at an anti-Trump protest on November 13, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of Dave Creaney/American-Statesman.
Bottom Photo: Joseph Weidknecht holds a poster reading “Proud to Be Deplorable” at an anti-Trump protest on November 13, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of Dave Creaney/American-Statesman. 

Originally aired September 28, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Friends from Elementary School Reunited on a Battlefield in Vietnam

Vince Cantu and Joe Galloway, both 76, first met each other in third grade in the mile-wide town of Refugio, Texas. After they graduated as part of a class of just 55 kids in 1959, Joe left town to pursue journalism, and the two lost track of each other over the years.

Vince and Joe came to StoryCorps in Austin, Texas, to recall the moment they reunited in a place they didn’t expect during the Vietnam War.

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In November 1965, Joe Galloway snapped this photo of his childhood friend Vince Cantu during the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley without realizing who was pictured. Vince was rushing to pick up the body of an American soldier to transport him home. The photo would ultimately run in several magazines, an illustration of the cost of war. 

Years after the war ended, Joe was decorated with a Bronze Star Medal for rescuing soldiers during the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley. His is the only medal the U.S. Army awarded to a civilian for actions in combat during the Vietnam War.

Joe and Vince remain good friends to this day.

Top Photo: Joe Galloway (L) and Vince Cantu at their StoryCorps interview in 2016 in Austin, Texas.
Bottom Photo: Vince Cantu rushes to pick up the body of an American soldier during the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley in November 1965. Photo Courtesy Getty Images.

Originally aired February 24, 2018, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Hartmut Lau and Barbara Lau

After graduating from West Point in 1967, Hartmut Lau was given a choice to serve his active duty in either the United States or Europe. He volunteered to go to Vietnam.

With the U.S. escalating its involvement in the Vietnam War, and the draft still two years away, Hartmut joined the Army’s 9th Infantry Division during one of the war’s worst years of combat. In 1968, American casualties peaked at 16,899, and 29 of Hartmut’s 589 fellow cadets from the class of ’67 were killed.

In 1991, after 24 years of service, Hartmut retired at the rank of colonel having been awarded the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart. Five years later, he met his wife, Barbara.

Over the course of their 20-year marriage, he has shared with her stories about his time at West Point, but Hartmut had never before spoken to Barbara about his service during the Vietnam War—until they came to StoryCorps.

Originally aired November 11, 2016, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Monica Velez and Christopher Hernandez

Growing up, Monica Velez was a mother figure to her two younger brothers, Andrew and José “Freddy” Velez (pictured together above, in 1996).

But her brothers both left home at an early age; Freddy (above left) joined the U.S. Army when he was 18 and deployed to Iraq. When Andrew (above right) turned 18 two years later, he followed his brother into military service and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Corporal José “Freddy” Velez was killed in action in Iraq in 2004. He was 23 years old and was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for outstanding service.

Specialist Andrew Velez had the difficult task of escorting his brother’s body back to the United States. Two years later, he committed suicide in Afghanistan. He was 22 years old. Before he died, Andrew received the Army Commendation Medal.
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Their older sister, Monica, came to StoryCorps with her husband, Christopher Hernandez (pictured together above), to remember her brothers.

Originally aired July 13, 2013, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.

Top: Photo courtesy of Monica Velez.

Harrison Wright and Sean Guess

When Sean Guess brought his grandfather, Harrison Wright, to a mobile booth in Austin, he asked about Harrison’s service during World War II.

Harrison was drafted in early 1943 and soon after shipped out to Europe. He played the bugle in his unit, and, at the end of the war, he was called upon for a special assignment.
Army Sgt. Harrison Wright as an 18 year-old. Photo courtesy of Harrison Wright.
Originally aired May 25, 2012, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Photo: Army Sgt. Harrison Wright as an 18 year-old. Photo courtesy of Harrison Wright.

Ricardo Isaias Zavala and Ricardo Javier Zavala

When Ricardo Isaias Zavala came to StoryCorps, his son, Ricardo Javier, asked who the most important person in his life was.

The answer came without a moment’s hesitation — it was Vicente Domingo Villa, Ricardo Isaias’ grandfather.

He told a story that began in the 1920s, when Vicente was a young boy enamored with the vaqueros, or cowboys, who worked on the South Texas ranches where he lived.

Joe Spano Jr. and Joe Spano Sr.

Brooklyn born Joe Spano and his son Joe Jr. talk about their family owned Italian restaurant in Abeline, Texas, which serves dishes Joe Sr. grew up watching his mother and grandmother prepare.

Originally aired August 22, 2008 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Rick Kincaid and Danny Ray Terry

Rick Kincaid talks with his friend Danny Ray Terry about Rick’s work as a bounty hunter. Rick remembers one of the funnier hunts he conducted as well as one of his most difficult — a case that caused Rick to end his bounty-hunting career for good.

Originally aired July 7, 2006, on NPR’s Morning Edition.