The Major Frank Tejeda Award
Frank Tejeda was born 2 October 1945 in San Antonio, Texas. Growing up poor and in the slums of San Antonio, he was an indifferent student, skipping school and becoming involved with gangs and heading nowhere. In 1963 he dropped out of high school at the age of 17 and joined the United States Marine Corps. This is where he began to turn the direction of his life around.
As a Sergeant in Vietnam, he was awarded the Silver Star (posthumously), the Bronze Star for gallantry, and the Purple Heart. He received a battlefield commission and attended the Officer Candidate School where he maintained one of the highest grade-point averages ever recorded. Additionally, while on active duty he earned a high school equivalency diploma.
He remained on active duty till 1967. Following his service in the Marine Corps, he attended Saint Mary's University in San Antonio graduating in 1970. In 1974, he received his juris doctor degree from the University of California and was admitted to the bar. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1976 and served there till 1987 when he was elected to the Texas Senate serving there till 1993. While working in the Texas House and Senate, Frank earned an advanced degree in Public Administration from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Master of Laws (LM.M.) degree from Yale University School of Law.
In 1992, Frank ran and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 28th District in Texas receiving 87% of the vote!!! During his first term in congress, Congressman Tejeda was assigned to the Armed Services and the Veterans Affairs Committee. While in Congress, he continued to champion support of Reserve and Veterans issues as he had during his days in the Texas Legislature. Elected to three terms, he was ever mindful of his Marine Corps experience and his district's role as a center for military installations and defense industries. During his tenure, he championed a strong national defense as well as the protection and expansion of veteran's benefits.
Frank Tejeda died of brain cancer on 30 January 1997. At the time of his death, he reached the rank of Major, United States Marine Corps Reserve. For his initiative, leadership, and total devotion to duty, the MCRA unanimously elected to honor him by establishing the Frank M. Tejeda Leadership Award. This award is presented each year by the MCRA to a member of the United States Congress who demonstrates an unwavering commitment to a strong nation defense, leadership, self-sacrifice, and service to one's country so exemplified by Frank Tejeda.
The recipient of the MAJ FRANK TEJEDA award for 2020 is