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Salvador Diaz Jr


Sal launched Project Always Beside You to help Active Military Dog Handlers, K9's, Veterans and their families when they experience unexpected hardships. A Marine Veteran himself and the loss of his son to Operation Enduring Freedom, in 2011, prompted Sal to bring hope to those in need. Sal is an active member of Auxiliary Post 8919 and a volunteer at the Veterans Stand Down. An event that provides food, clothing, and health screenings to homeless and at-risk Veterans. Sal's professional career has been in sales and rentals of construction equipment. He is currently Branch Manager of Wagner Rents, a division of Wagner Equipment in El Paso TX.


Bruce Vilches

Vice President

Bruce's passion for "Always Beside You" has been growing for years. The Diaz and Vilches children grew up together through the Marine JrROTC in Albuquerque, New Mexico and our close friendship continues today. The Diaz family sponsored an annual dog handler competition in the memory of SSGT Christopher Diaz, where Bruce met several dog handlers-active duty and veterans. Most of the veteran dog handlers were suffering from PTSD, and this annual event helped them cope, share and build positive experiences with others. This is just one of the ways that "Always Beside You" helps people and makes connections to see where more help can be given. Bruce's professional career has been in commercial construction and manufacturing operations for 40 years. He is currently the Director of Continuous Improvement at Relevate Consulting, in Chandler, Arizona.


Sandra Diaz


I, Sandra, grew up in El Paso, Texas. I am a wife, mother of three, and a grandmother of five. I dedicated my life in the corporate world as an Accountant, Claim Analyst, and a Medical Office Assistant. Two of my sons went on to defend their country with the United States Marine Corps, and earned me the title of a "Blue Star Mother". My third son, went on to defend his country within the Federal Government. In 2011, I transitioned from a "Blue Star Mother" to a "Gold Star Mother", after my son, SSgt Christopher Diaz was KIA in Afghanistan. With the loss of our son, we adopted Chris's dog, "Dino". Dino taught us the sacrifice and needs of assistance that Veteran canines deserve when returning stateside. This inspired us to begin, "Project Always Beside You", In honor of Dino who helped us cope with the loss of our son, SSgt C. Diaz. I've made it a mission to support organizations that help our Veterans and their K9 counterparts. I am a proud member of the VFW 8919 Women's Auxiliary, providing support for Veterans and family members of the fallen. In 2018, I joined operation "Stand Down", which is held annually, providing medical care, clothing, food, and government assistance for Homeless Veterans.


Clara Durand


Clara Durand is a native of El Paso, Texas and graduated from the University of El Paso Texas with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a Major in Human Resources. Throughout her career, Clara has worked with several companies in various industries in multiple facets. She has served in human capital management, administrative, and human resource functions, ranging from local businesses to national corporations. She has also given personal time to serve her local community by volunteering for organizations such as the Reynold's Home, a part of the El Paso Coalition for the Homeless, in which they assist individuals and families transition to self-sufficiency and assist those homeless who are unable to be independent. Clara is a devoted wife of over 10 years and mother of two. Her compassion for canines stems from her own two adopted rescues, Mason and Shelby both of whom have been in her family for over 10 years. This compassion was further strengthened after witnessing the relationship, bolstered by love and a shared remembrance, between "Dino", Sal and Sandy.

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