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Home | News | Gallery+Story: Tornillo Port of Entry Officially Renamed in Honor of El Paso’s World War I Hero

Gallery+Story: Tornillo Port of Entry Officially Renamed in Honor of El Paso’s World War I Hero

Congressman Will Hurd, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) gathered Wednesday to commemorate the naming of the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry (POE) in Tornillo, 35 miles east of El Paso.

Marcelino Serna was an El Paso resident who served in World War I and became the most decorated World War I veteran from Texas.

“The veteran community has been championing this issue for many years, and it is an honor to deliver on their wishes after two years of working in Washington to make this happen,” said Congressman Hurd. “Today we honored a man who immigrated to the United States and risked his life repeatedly to protect the safety of his fellow soldiers. The Marcelino Serna Port of Entry will not only honor this extraordinary man’s service to our nation, it will serve as a reminder of the countless Hispanic-American immigrants who have fought valiantly to keep our nation safe. It brings me great joy to celebrate with his daughter Gloria and the rest of the Tornillo community.”

“It is an honor to represent GSA as we memorialize Marcelino Serna for his courage and patriotism in World War I,” said GSA Acting Regional Administrator Jim Weller. “Dedicating the Tornillo Port of Entry in his name demonstrates the federal government’s respect and appreciation for his service to country.”

“The dedication and service to country demonstrated by Marcelino Serna a century ago is reflected in the daily work of CBP officers assigned to this facility,” said CBP Marcelino Serna Port Director Donna Sifford.

Private Marcelino Serna lived in El Paso and volunteered for the U.S. Army during World War I. After basic training Serna was sent overseas to join the Allied forces but was later given the option to withdraw because, at the time, he was not a U.S. citizen. Instead, he chose to stay and fight with his fellow soldiers.

During his service, Serna’s dedication and bravery saved many lives. For his acts of courage, Serna was honored by the U.S. Army with two Purple Hearts and was the first Hispanic to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Serna, who became a U.S. citizen in 1924, died in 1992 at the age of 95 and was buried with full military honors at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.

The Marcelino Serna POE is a newly-constructed 117 acre port that was completed in 2016 and replaced the legacy Fabens POE. The Marcelino Serna POE provides both noncommercial and commercial inspections and is the bridge between Tornillo and Guadalupe in Mexico.

For more information about the public law regarding the naming, click HERE.

Photos courtesy US Representative Will Hurd’s Office

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