New mural honors Alpine Volunteer Fire Department

ALPINE – The latest completed mural here was contracted by the city to honor the 100thanniversary of the Alpine Volunteer Fire Department two years from now. It was dedicated in a ceremony attended by city and county officials and several firefighters last week.

Cristina Sosa Noriega of San Antonio, formerly of Alpine, was paid $8,000 out of the VFD budget to paint the mural on the side of a container at the corner of Holland Avenue and 3rdStreet near the west entrance to the Fire Station.

She painted them on three panels in San Antonio and brought them to Alpine where she erected them and put on the finishing touches.

Noriega and her husband Victor bought the old Valadez Grocery Store at Murphy and 5thStreets in 2008 and turned it into La Raspa. It has since been acquired by Nancy Davila who now calls the building Murphy Street Mercado.

City Tourism Director Chris Ruggia credited the Noriegas and Betty Gaddis Yndo with revitalizing Murphy Street. It was once considered the Hispanic side “on the other side” of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks but is now considered a vital part of downtown.

Noriega now lives in San Antonio where Victor is employed with an advertising agency.

“I hope to get back here for good as soon as I can,” she said. She wears a tattoo on her arm of the Style Read mural on the side of Kiowa Gallery.

She is an artist with many paintings and many of them are murals. She did one in San Antonio.

Noriega thanked the firemen for their help on the mural. Firemen in the painting were made to look like the today’s actual fire fighters. “I wanted to make it as authentic as possible,” she said. “They helped with uniforms and other details. I appreciate being able to do a lot for the community.” County Judge Eleazar Cano said Noriega “is a hometown girl. We are going in the right direction with the fire department by having it under both the city and the county.” He said community leaders “can be the fullback. You [fire fighters] are the line that makes it all happen.” Mayor Andy Ramos called it “a beautiful, beautiful mural. Tourists will see it and realize the work the fire department does. They put their lives on the line every day.” Assistant Chief Mike Scudder said 16 members are on the force right now. Nine were present. “We really appreciate the help we get from Sul Ross,” he said. “A lot of them move here after graduation but when they are still in school, they are just students who don’t even live here. “A lot of them go on to become professional firefighters in other communities,” he said. “One is now a chief in San Antonio. Fire Chief Mark Scudder said he is “really grateful for our firefighters and EMTs. They’ll come back tired after fighting a fire and they still have to clean and replenish the trucks. They show up when we need them.” City Manager Jessica Garza said the department has “a tremendous legacy giving firefighters their first experience.” She said the city will have a big celebration when the department turns 100 years old in two years.