For Elias Sanchez-Perez, it’s simple arithmetic.

“To reduce crime in the street, you have to have children in skilled labor positions,” he said. “Skilled jobs lead to higher wages. Higher wages lead to higher self-esteem.”  Helping children pursue courses that will lead to solid employment is something that benefits the entire community, he explained.

And that’s why Sanchez-Perez has spent the past three decades pushing students to study and then pursue jobs in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – fields.

In the past month, the League City resident helped organize two events on the subject – “STEM Symposium” at the University of Houston and “Skilled Job Training” at Houston Community College.  There have been a number of other symposiums that Sanchez-Perez has hosted through the Gathering of Eagles, an organization of leaders from various veterans organizations around Houston. Sanchez-Perez is the group’s director.  Originally from Corpus Christi, Sanchez-Perez served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1966 – and came back to a country that too often did not embrace its veterans.