At 5 a.m. this morning, the 20-year-old Marine embarked on a
relief effort mission for Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans.
He readied himself for the mission Tuesday in the company of his
little brother, who he picked up from school early so they could
spend time together.
"They called me [Tuesday], while I was in the shower," he said,
adding that it had been only two days since he volunteered to be
"Well, this is what I signed up for, right?" he said. "To help the
Born in Burbank and raised in Glendale, Verduzco has been in the
Marines for a year and eight months, but this is the first deployment
mission he has been called up for, he said.
"I'm not really scared," he said. "I knew this was going to come
at some point, since I joined in a time of war. It was either this,
Iraq or Afghanistan. But whatever it is, I'm prepared."
Better he is deployed to New Orleans for relief efforts, than Iraq
for war efforts, his sister Judith Verduzco said.
"I'm glad he's going," she said. "I'm glad he's being a support to
the situation. I support him all the way.
"There's risks to any situation and he's my little brother so of
course I'm going to be a little nervous, but I'm confident he's
received the proper training."
Julian Verduzco has had training in basic first aid and rescue
missions, so he is prepared for any task that may come his way, he
said, whether it be relief efforts, search and rescue or body
recovery, he said.
"In reality, I've never seen death before," he said. "But
basically, we're going over there to do whatever they need us to do.
I was really anxious when I signed up and now that I'm able to
actually go, I'm just thankful to God."
Verduzco could be on assignment for as little as three months or
as long as nine months in the disaster-stricken region -- which will
put his work at Sears and his education at Valley College on hold.
But for Verduzco, the cause is worth it, he said.
"It's devastating what happened to those people," he said. "Those
people are losing their homes, losing their families. It's horrible.
I just hope once we get out there, we can help them get their lives
"I mean this gives us, American troops, an opportunity to help
those we signed up to protect."