Sergeant Vincent Rios and his men were out patrolling the "bush" when a chopper was sent to retrieve him. He was to return home to the states in six days and they went to bring him out of harm's way. Seeing the chopper brought no one to replace him, he refused to leave his men.
Within 48 hours of that monumental decision Rios set off a booby-trap explosive device which resulted in the loss of both legs entirely, the entire loss of his right arm and partial amputation of the index and ring fingers on his left hand. That day, six days from going home, February 6, 1969 Sgt. Rios' life would forever be changed.
In July of 1969, after many months in the veteran's hospitals Vince received a 100 percent combat-wounded disability retirement from his beloved United States Marine Corps. Where to now?? But Vince did not take time to feel sorry for himself - instead he launched into getting trained for his lifetime career.
At a time before the Americans with Disabilities Act; before handicap accessible restrooms were readily available; before wheelchair access to classrooms; before handicapped curb cuts - Vince proved you can do it if you really want to. He went on to obtain four degrees.
Rios received an Associate in Arts degree in Behavioral Science from San Diego Mesa College in 1973. He earned a Master's degree in Urban-State-Federal Governance from Golden Gate University in 1983 and holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Social Science from S.F. State U.
Commissioner Rios sat on the San Mateo County Civil Service Commission from 1979 to 1989 with 2-terms as Chairman of The Commission. He is the former chairman of the US Department of Health and Human Services - Region IX International Year of Disabled Persons Committee and is the former editor of a Bay Area Federal Executive Board newsletter. Mr Rios sat on the Community Advisory Board for Sumitomo Bank of California and is a member or Golden Gate University's Alumni Council.
Vincent Rios served as Manpower Development Specialist for the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Employment and Training Administration from 1977 to 1979 and from '79 to 84 he was an Equal Opportunity Specialist with the US Dep't. of Health and Human Services.
As the State Supervisor of California's Employment Development Dept for Veterans' Job Training (84--87), Vince's major duties were planning, managing and supervising the Job Service implementation of the Federal Contractor Job Listing Program and the Veterans Job training with the Veteran's Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor.
He is also the former Region IX Veterans' Affairs Offcer for the US Small Business Administration. He ensured, for veteran entrepreneurs, access to quality SBA resources in California. Arizona, Nevada. Hawaii and Guam. He supervised SBA Regional, District and Branch Veterans Program operations from 1987 until 1989.
Vincent Rios has dedicated his life to serving veterans, minorities and disabled persons. In 1989 he was appointed, and currently continues, to serve as the Assistant Regional Administrator, Department of Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service - for both regions 9 and 10. In this capacity he helps track regional veterans' program's results and how federal monies are spent for veteran's programs by eight states in the two regions.