A commitment to service
VFW commander involved at home and abroad
Last updated 4/30/2020 at 6:35pm | View PDF
Sergeant 1st Class James Madrano doesn't seek out the spotlight and hesitates to push himself on anyone or anything; however, he is currently the commander of the Wasco-Shafter Veterans of Foreign War chapter, which puts him front and center when there are causes to work for.
In fact, this past weekend, breakfast burritos were made at the VFW Hall and given out to the homeless by volunteers.
Madrano leads the monthly meetings the first Thursday of every month at the VFW Hall on E Street.
Born in Porterville, He made his home early on in Wasco and is a 1975 Wasco High School graduate.
He was involved in the school's Future Farmers of America and rode junior bull competitions.
Following in his father's footsteps, he joined the Army after high school and was in the Army from 1975 to 1979. Madrano's father was a truck driver in Europe in the Battle of the Bulge. His love for the military continued from 1979-2005 where he was in the Army Reserve as a Sergeant 1st Class.
Basic Training for Madrano was in Ft. Leonardwood, Mo., and he served at Ft. Rucker in Alabama and Ft. Louis, Washington.
He served in Iraqi Freedom from 2004-2005 and was a platoon sergeant/truckmaster.
Married to James A. Forrest third-grade teacher Helen in 1991, he keeps busy with not only his involvement in the VFW, he currently serves as treasurer of the Wasco High Ag Booster Club.
The Madranos have three adult children: Elizabeth, the oldest, is living in Bakersfield and working as a home health care provider; Miranda the middle child, will graduate as a veterinarian this May; and the youngest, Justin, is currently attending college locally and majoring in English.
"I was very involved with my children's' activities and education by serving as a 4-H leader, classroom parent helper, and even participated in dance recitals with my daughter," he said.
"Until I retired from the Army, I had horses. I also roped and participated in team penned competitions," he said. "I also enjoyed helping out different ranchers/friends with branding and cattle drives. I especially loved riding down mountains and crossing rivers."
What Madrano liked best about being in the Army was the bond that he had with his fellow soldiers. "In fact, I recently reconnected with a fellow soldier that I served with for three years when I first joined the Army," he said. "He lives in New York, and I have spent time with him there. Our bond was never lost, and it was like we were back when we were 18 years old."
He meets with local soldiers that he served with for breakfast every couple of months. "Those are my band of brothers."
Another activity important to Madrano is giving back to the community of Wasco – which has given him so much.