“While there we drove slow and methodical, and sometimes 2 to 5 miles per hour,” commented Benavidez, “so, it took a little while to get used to driving here again.” But what did not take time to get used to was seeing his family.
His family excitedly greeted him at the airport when he returned, and since then, he has spent as much time as possible with them. “Being apart from family is hard,” stated Benavidez, “however, my family is my point. No matter how tough it got, I did it for my family.”
His family was part of the reason he moved to the area to work at the Natatorium in 2008. He felt like it was a good area for his family, everyone was nice, and it was a good career opportunity. Benavidez has enjoyed aquatics since his teen years. He began as a lifeguard then moved up to a Certified Pool Operator (CPO), which is the position that brought him to Conroe ISD. In 2011, he was promoted to Assistant Natatorium Coordinator. When asked what the best part of his job is, he said without hesitation, “The kids. They enjoy being here. Even though they are tired, they are happy and excited.“
“It is an honor to have him work for the District,” stated Dr. Don Stockton, Superintendent of Schools. “We are happy to have him back, safe and sound.” Dr. Stockton visited Jesse at the Natatorium as soon as he was back to work.
Benavidez described how the camaraderie, travel, meeting people, and the chance to work on large trucks are a few of the highlights of being in the Army. He went on to say, “The Army made me a better person. I would not be where I am today without the Army; I wouldn’t be at the Natatorium.”
"When Jesse told me last year that he was going to be deployed, I just kept thinking about the sacrifice he and his young family were making with him being so far away for several months. I knew we would miss him at the Natatorium, but I knew his family would miss him even more," commented Dr. Chris Hines, Deputy Superintendent. "We are thankful for Jesse's safe return to his family, to our team at the Natatorium, and to our community, and we are thankful for Jesse Benavidez's service to our great nation. We are also thankful to our outstanding team at the natatorium that stepped up while Jesse was away. It is good to have him back."