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Local boy with traumatic brain injury inducted into veterans association

By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- Alfonso Dozal is a lot like other kids his age.

The 10-year-old goes to school, he laughs a lot and he's a music lover.

"He likes all kinds of music except country. He doesn't like country I don't know why," said Rita Arismendiz, Alfonso's biological grandmother.

But little Alfonso faces a lot more challenges than most.

"He has a traumatic brain injury, he doesn't have very much brain and nothing connects. He has oxygen, he takes seizure medication, he's blind," Arismendiz said.

When Alfonso was just 3 months old, his biological grandmother, who now has full custody of him, said Alfonso's own mother shook him.

"He was in the hospital, they didn't think he was going to make it. Actually, they thought he was going to die that day, but he didn't," Arismendiz said.

Though Alfonso has beat the odds, the last 10 years haven't been easy, for him or his caretaker.

"With a lot of prayer, I just take it a day at a time," Arismendiz said.

So the El Paso Veterans and Riders Association stepped in to make things a little easier for the two.

"It was unanimous very quickly to adopt him as a member," said Darrell Mond, president of the El Paso Veterans and Riders Association.

Today, the group made things official, and presented Alfonso with a plaque and vest.

"His mom has been struggling so we're going to bring in our group, and with our ties to the community help them out and help them have a better life," Mond said.

Group members say they will support them as much as possible, in any way they can.

"My own son who is standing behind me is also disabled and we almost lost him when he was 3, so we kind of understand what you're going through. But just to let him know he's not alone," Mond said.

"I'm just overwhelmed that they came and they've accepted mijo," Arismendiz said.