Our August Military Member of the Month is Marine Corps veteran Noel Huerta.
Originally from Salinas, CA, Noel served in the Corps from 2007-2011. During his service, he deployed to Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion 7th Marines in 2008. Noel was actually shot through his scope and the side of his neck during combat in Afghanistan. His deployment to Afghanistan would shape him for years to come, as well as many others in his unit.
While Noel has a lot of personal accomplishments since leaving the Corps, but it has not been easy for him. His story is one of perseverance. Upon leaving the Corps, Noel’s drastic change in lifestyle really affected him. He truly felt unwanted, underappreciated and hopeless for a long time. He found his way on to a Sheriff’s Department but left that job after having a flashback to his tour in Afghanistan during a traffic stop. He attended college courses after moving to Las Vegas but couldn’t relate with many people around him. His turmoil and uncertainty lead him to even attempt suicide a couple of times. Fortunately, his story did not end there.
Noel continued with his schooling through thick and thin to earn a B.S. in Computer Science, as well as an MBA in Business Management. But the most impressive thing that Noel has done (besides being a father), is starting a chapter of Merging Vets and Players (MVP) in Las Vegas. Noel heard about MVP through a fellow Marine that he had served with. His friend was having a really hard time and actually ended up homeless. During his time in a shelter, Noel’s friend met Nate Boyer, a veteran who had also made it to training camp in the NFL. Nate shared his idea for bringing veterans and professional athletes together with Noel’s friend. Noel found out about it and began attending MVP sessions in Los Angeles in 2016.
Noel lives in Las Vegas and he knew that he wanted to bring MVP to his hometown. Noel got to work with a few friends and has helped to grow MVP Las Vegas to a group of 200 since 2017. Randy Couture along with other volunteer trainers are a big part of the MVP sessions as well. Randy’s gym Xtreme Couture even provides the space for the weekly training sessions.
Noel’s efforts to provide a place for his fellow veteran to come together, let off some steam and talk about what it is like to transition from the military is making a huge difference. We are proud to honor Noel Huerta this month for his dedication to help his fellow veterans. Help us give him a hand!