The Story of Sgt Mario Alcala
Vigiano Family Hope & Courage Award Recipient
United States Marine Corps veteran Mario Alcala was awarded The Vigiano Family Hope and Courage award at the eighth annual Hope For The Warriors’ Got Heart Give Hope Gala for his role as a veteran and volunteer with Hope For The Warriors.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be here with all of the veterans, the active duty service members, and supporters of Hope,” said Alcala. “I really don’t feel that I did anything extraordinary to be deserving of this award, but it’s such a great honor to be recognized and receive the Vigiano Family Hope and Courage Award. It’s a privilege to be a part of Hope For The Warriors—it’s a great organization with great people. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”
A football player at Southern Oregon University, Alcala suffered an Achilles tendon injury during junior year, which ended his playing career and left him feeling without a purpose. Knowing he needed a change, he found a recruiter’s office and joined the USMC. In September 2004, within two weeks of arriving at Camp Pendleton, Alcala was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq. Shortly after returning, Alcala met his wife, and in the years that followed they went on to get married and have two sons.
Alcala was medically retired from the USMC after doctors discovered a brain tumor. Then, less than a year later, Alcala was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Battling cancer while going through his transition from Marine to civilian, Alcala found Hope For The Warriors’ Above & Beyond program—a career-readiness program that is part of the organization’s transition pillar. Earning both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, Alcala found solace in participating in golf events with fellow veterans through Hope For The Warriors. Moving to the Dallas-area upon his retirement, Alcala serves as a volunteer for Hope For The Warriors, sharing his story and inspiring others with his character while paying it forward to his community, family and Hope.