U.S. Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (R-Rocky River) highlights one of Northeast Ohio's newest U.S. Citizens and Vietnam Era War Veteran, Robert Rivera, as a featured constituent.
Robert Rivera had long hoped to obtain US citizenship when he attended a Veteran’s Service Event hosted by Congressman Gonzalez’s office earlier this year at the Strongsville VFW post. Staff members learned of Mr. Rivera’s prior service to our nation, and they were able to help him apply for citizenship since his service was during a time of hostility.
Robert was born in Mexico and came to the United States with his father when he was four years old. He was raised primarily by his father, as his mother died when Robert was only 4 years old. Robert spent his childhood in Billings, Montana until he was 15, when he came to Cleveland, Ohio to live with his sister. In 1965, Robert graduated from West High School (now Lincoln-West High School) in Cleveland.
In November 1966, Robert was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served stateside at Ft. Hood, Texas and was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 52nd Infantry Regiment, First Armored Division. Robert served with the division, "Old Ironsides", from 1966 to 1968 earning the National Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and qualifying as a Sharpshooter (rifle). Robert was the Featherweight boxing champion for Ft. Hood in 1967 and the runner-up boxing champion for the Fourth Army.
During his service in the Army, Robert married his sweetheart, Sharon. They have, to this day, enjoyed 51 years of marriage on their way to Forever Together. They have five sons, 13 grandchildren and two great-grand-children.
Robert moved home to North Royalton, Ohio after the Army and worked 35 years as a warehouseman for Fisher Foods and Giant Eagle. Retirement doesn’t mean Robert is standing still, though. He still works with his wife, Sharon at Regina Health Center in Richfield, Ohio.