Uplifting the Spirit using my voice & talent.


America has a fascination with the TV game show “Survivor,” but the courage, sacrifice, and heart of a true survivor is found in the real life story of Vicente Ruelas Ojinaga.  At 91 years old, Ojinaga has overcome a heart attack, cancer, the infamous Bataan Death March, a voyage on a Hell Ship, and years in a POW camp.  He didn’t just manage to live through these unimaginable hardships– with his faith in God, he thrived because of them.

After fellow POW Benjamin Martinez passed away last month, Ojinaga became the only survivor of the Bataan Death March still living in the city of Santa Fe according to the NM Department of Veterans’ Services. He was one of 1800 young men from New Mexico in the 200th Coast Artillery of the NM National Guard Army who were taken Prisoners of War by the Japanese.  Roughly 900 returned home.

That horrifying experience has been a big part of Ojinaga’s life, but it isn’t all that defines this amazing man.  He graduated from UNM, then worked for the IRS and the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue.  His wife Celia says he has always served the community… as Treasurer of the Knights of Columbus and the Neighborhood Association; he was a member of Toastmasters; and a devout member of his church.  She says his greatest strength is his love of God and family.

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October 31, 2009 Posted by | Santa Fe Hometown News, Vicente Ruelas Ojinaga | | Leave a comment