Veteran ready to be all he can be

By JOHN INGLE | The (Wichita Fallas, Texas) Times Record News | Published: March 21, 2014

Col. Tom Quintero has new marching orders: report to the Wichita Falls City Council to be sworn in as District 5 councilor.

The City Council approved a measure Tuesday that cancels the May 10 election because all seats up for election were unopposed. That means Quintero, who will take over the seat being vacated by Mary Ward, Mayor Glenn Barham, District 3 Councilor Brian Hooker and District 4 Councilor Tim Ingle all will be sworn in May 20 during that day’s City Council meeting.

The Army colonel and Hirschi High School and Midwestern State University graduate returned to the Falls in September 2011 after roughly 30 years of service. It was within the first six months of being back home that he began eyeballing running for public office, he said, first at the local level and then at the federal level.

On the advice of a few people he spoke with, he chose not to throw his hat in the political ring. But now is the time, he said, to get involved and work to improve the city’s north side.

“In the 30 years that I’ve been away from Wichita Falls, I noticed that the majority of things that are going on are going on to the south and southwest,” he said of city development, adding Sheppard is an important partner and part of this city. “We make a lot of comments that we’ve got to do what we can to keep Sheppard in Wichita Falls, and yet we’re not building anything on the north side.”

Quintero said he would like to see another grocery store and some name-brand restaurants built in that area to better serve the transient population of the base.

The local product said his 30-year absence from the area has given him a different perspective on some of the issues such as water that might not have been addressed at the time he began his Army career. There is an opportunity now, he said, to make a difference.

“We had an opportunity to set ourselves up for success now, and we didn’t do it,” he said. “Now we’ve got to start over, and I want to be part of that.”

The colonel last served in the Army as director of Training and Doctrine at Fort Sill, a position he held until August 2013. He began his military service in 1982 when he was commissioned in the Army National Guard and continued service in 1984 when he became a member of the active duty force. He will officially retire this August.

Quintero was awarded the Bronze Star, Parachuters Badge and Army Space Wings during his career. He also attended Army War College in 2003, and served one long and one short tour in Afghanistan.


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