SER NATIONAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO COLIN POWELL, AN ENDURING AMERICAN LEADER
Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Notes His Rise from Poverty to Pinnacle of Military and Diplomatic Service
Irving, TX – Ignacio Salazar, SER National Chief Executive Officer, today issued the following statement in acknowledgment of the passing of General Colin Powell. He was 84. The former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff served multiple presidential administrations and made a lasting impact on U.S. foreign policy.
“Our country has lost a modern historical figure whose legacy will endure for generations. His life is an example of service to country through the most challenging times, yet always with uncompromising integrity. General Powell placed himself squarely at the forefront of accountability in every decision he ever made and understood the weightiness of leadership. He was first, foremost, and always a soldier. His character and demeanor reflected that he understood his every action and word would be an inspiration to some and scrutinized by others.
There are many firsts historians will record about General Powell. He was the first Black national security adviser, first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and first Black U.S. secretary of state. However, the other, perhaps lesser-known part of his life is his determination, work ethic, and perseverance lifted him to the summits of power. His path was not carved out or laid out in front of him. Instead, he was the son of immigrants who joined the R.O.T.C. at 21 after growing up in the South Bronx and going to City College of New York. He joined the Army soon after it was desegregated and served two tours in Vietnam. From there, he would go on to a 35-year military career.
This was the cornerstone of every post he accepted and every mission he carried out; he earned distinction through quiet, selfless service. Twice, he was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for service to our country. May every American salute this loyal soldier as he is laid to rest and remember him for his courage to lead, and in so doing, showing others the way forward.”
SER NATIONAL AND LATINO LEADERS PAY TRIBUTE TO PEDRO VIERA, FORMER SER PRESIDENT, UPON HIS PASSING
Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Honors Community Trailblazer, Visionary, and Lifelong Advocate
Irving, TX – SER National today issued the following statement on the passing of a beloved, respected friend and community champion, 68-year-old Pedro Luis Viera Marrero. The former SER National President from 1988 to 1996 was working in Guayaquil, Ecuador, when doctors say he suffered a fatal heart attack on October 9, 2021. His primary home was Coppell, Texas, where he lived with his wife and family.
“We are heartbroken over the sudden loss of a dear, wonderful friend and colleague,” says Ignacio Salazar, SER National Chief Executive Officer. “On behalf of the entire SER National family and SER Network of Affiliates across the country and Puerto Rico, I wish to send our deepest condolences to Pedro’s wife Tia, his children, and the extended Viera family. Our community has lost a tireless defender and a man who exemplified the belief that we can each serve the disadvantaged in need through selfless actions. Pedro’s greatness was his humility and his infinite faith in the goodness of others. May he now rest in peace and receive the reward of a life well-lived,” said Salazar.
Pedro formalized a record number of new corporate and private foundation partnerships, which led to a more robust Amigos de SER during his tenure as SER National President. He also increased the number of state and federal grants procured and implemented national initiatives, marketing, and fundraising campaigns. His leadership generated millions of dollars on behalf of the SER Network of Affiliates for their work in the areas of affordable housing, urban renewal, family education, and literacy, and job training/job bank services for talent recruitment.
“I knew Pedro for the last 32 years, and during those years, he never ceased to impress me with his work ethic and innovative ideas,” said Joe Campos, former SER National’s Vice-President of Corporate Relations. “He took SER National to another level in the areas of job training and corporate development. To put it lightly, you just had to be around him to know what kind of person Pedro was,” added Campos.
Pedro experienced success in a storied career that provided him opportunities to design, oversee and implement businesses, projects, and programs in the private, government, and non-profit sectors at both the local and national levels.A true visionary, Pedro highly valued business ventures that are focused, accountability-driven, solution-oriented, and legacy building. Some of his past jobs include positions at the Department of Education, Puerto Rico; SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc., Milwaukee; SER-Jobs for Progress National, Inc., Dallas; Pan American Financial, Inc., San Juan; International Construction Solutions Development, Inc., San Juan; Liberty Circle Energy, Inc., San Juan; Institucion Educativa NETS USA, Irving; National Society of Hispanic MBA, Irving; Latino Consulting Services, Inc., Lewisville; and most recently, Universal Coin International (UCoin ), Inc., Guayaquil, Ecuador.
“God gifted Pedro Viera with the talent of always coming up with innovative problem-solving ideas no matter what the industry was,” said Juan Constantino, former SER National’s Vice-President of Operations. “Anytime Pedro was in the room, we knew that out-of-the-box thinking and looking beyond the usual answers was the way to go, and he freely shared his talents to make the outcome better. That’s the sign of a successful leader,” added Constantino.
Whether in his professional or personal life, his motto was constantly to impact others’ lives positively. He pursued this belief with generosity, compassion, servant leadership, and commitment to solving problems. Those who knew Pedro shared that he welcomed and included people from all walks of life. Although he achieved great acclaim and success, Pedro never forgot his humble beginnings or lost sight of the core values of his upbringing. “No te preocupes, yo me encargo” was his typical response to anybody in need. Pedro was just as comfortable occupying a seat at a banquet table with wealthy clients as he was at home sharing a sandwich with the company driver or security guard. He was never too proud to sweep floors or stack chairs, completing whatever needed doing after an event.
He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 30, 1953, to Pedro Luis Viera Correa and Ana Delia Marrero Villalobos. He received a BA in Economics/Statistics at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, and a Master’s in Urban and Economic Planning from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. In addition, Pedro pursued post-graduate studies in Urban Education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Pedro is preceded in death by his father, Pedro Luis Viera Correa. He leaves in God’s loving care his devoted wife of 27 years, Tia Viera; his previous wife, Olga Pallan; his two children, Michelle Viera Keleny (Eric Keleny) and Wesley Viera Lava; his mother, Ana Delia Marrero Villalobos; his brother, Luis Alberto Viera Marrero; his three grandchildren, Ohani Keleny, Ari Keleny, and Valentina Keleny; his aunt, Carmen Marrero Villalobos; his cousin, William Candelario (Maria Garcia); his cousin, Alma Yadira Navarro Viera; his two nephews and niece, Jorge Alberto Viera Aviles, Liza Yanice Viera Aviles, and Chris Alberto Viera de la Cruz; as well as other extended family members.
Pedro’s burial will be in Puerto Rico, his native, beloved home, La Isla del Encanto. Remember Pedro, not with sadness but for his warmth, charm, and ardent desire to make people feel accepted and included.