2012 home recipient Louis Flores was born in Lubbock, Texas on September 5, 1983 and raised in Plainview.
During his high school years two defining events occurred in his life: Louis was introduced to his future wife Olga and America was attacked on 9/11.
Flores consistently had two goals that shaped his life choices. The first was to become a doctor and the second was to serve his country in the United States Army following in the footsteps of his father.
Flores started at Texas Tech University only to find that the cost of higher education seemed to put his dream of becoming a physician out of reach.He quickly decided to follow his second passion to serve in the Army.
On April 1, 2003 Flores began serving his country in the United States Army. After completion of his basic and advanced training, he married his Plainview sweetheart, Olga Mireles and they began their lives together. Shortly thereafter Olga gave birth to their son, Gabriel Rey Flores who is now seven years old. During Louis’ service in Alaska, Olga and Louis took custody of his second youngest sister-in-law who was having trouble back in Texas. They’ve always had a heart for service.
Flores was deployed to Northern Iraq where he served as a medic. Having been involved in multiple IED explosions, Louis always ran to the aid of a fellow soldier or helped innocent civilians when a suicide bomber had just blown himself up in a public market. The trauma and explosions were causing Flores to slowly and silently go to a very dark place.
Coming home proved difficult as well. He returned to Texas Tech to continue his studies only to find himself distracted and unable to make the grades. Prior to his deployment, Flores maintained a 3.8 GPA, but after coming home from Iraq he couldn’t seem to get above a .87. Having undergone screening for TBI (traumatic brain injury) and having tested positive for a moderate brain injury, Flores began to understand how that injury contributed to his maladjustment and cognitive struggles.
Despite the many trials since returning home, nothing has proven itself time and again like the love of his wife, Olga. She has been by his side for several years now encouraging him and providing guidance when needed. He credits Olga as the strongest person in his life. No matter how difficult the task before her she overcomes every obstacle with grace and courage. The greatest example of this love has been her patience and forgiveness in regards to his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Some soldiers return home to their wives with missing limbs or noticeable scars. PTSD is the silent killer. When Flores couldn’t find the strength to overcome his challenges, he says Olga provided enough strength and courage for both of them. Louis continues to struggle with his brain injury, his emotional health and mental stability. However, his commitment and adoration of his wife and son drives him to continue to work towards a better tomorrow.