Jose Boix couldn't help but show emotion as he flipped through a binder, which had everything from high school diplomas to pictures of classmates he still holds dear.
Remembering his chemical engineering peers, he said, "We are 12. So we call ourselves the 12 apostles, or depending on the time, the dirty dozen."
But the binder isn't filled with all fond memories. There's also his Cuban passport, with a stamp showing he couldn't return. "That's kind of very traumatic," Boix said.
After fleeing to the U.S. in the 60's, Boix received an offer with a chemical company in Texas City and never looked back.
"It's like an old pair of shoes," he said. "You know exactly the wrinkles, and you can wear it."
The wrinkles are worn, but he hasn't slowed down. Boix retired, and took on a new role helping Texas City.
He helped start the Texas City ISD Foundation for the Future, a group that's raised nearly $4 million in grants to provide educational programs like Crying Babies.
During the pandemic, students left the classroom, but the organization hasn't stopped helping with its COVID-19 relief fund.
"A lot of our students have one and one laptops, and this assistance was able to support with that," Texas City ISD Foundation for the Future Executive Director, Christina Payne explained. "Not only that, we're able to support learning programs online."
Boix's relationship with local industries also helped with the district's new industrial trade center. High school students learn a trade, and get jobs out of school.
"It now educates over 300 young men and women for future jobs inside our community," Texas City Mayor Matthew Doyle explained.
Doyle met Boix decades ago when he was a volunteer in a local fish tournament. A generosity Doyle said has helped thousands in Texas City.
"I don't know if you find another Jose, but we all strive to be like Jose," Doyle said.
Boix said he's no hero, just a gofer. A man who's journey took him from Cuba, to a place he now calls home.
"It's an amazing community to work, worship, study, play and like me, retire," Boix said.
Boix retired two decades ago, but he hasn't left the organizations. He's still involved with the chamber of commerce, community advisory council, and the district's Foundation for Future.
The United States not only gave him a career, but a new place to call home. He also found his wife, Arlene. The two have been married 54 years.
Want to see more from the heart of your community? Check out your town's stories through ABC13+'s Facebook page.
Follow Nick Natario on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.