Roberto G. Balli
United States Army
World War II
Hidalgo County has been home for many fine citizens, past and present, who have made it what it is today – an area rich in culture and values. One such individual was Roberto Gonzalez Balli of Alamo, Texas. A Valley native and descendant of the first pioneer settlers in the Rio Grande Valley, Mr. Balli was the youngest son of Manuel Salazar Balli. He served his country bravely as did many from the Valley during World War II. Assigned to the 9th Infantry Division, known as “The Old Reliables”, Mr. Balli fought in eight major battle campaigns under the command of General Omar Bradley and earned eight bronze stars. Others awarded to Mr. Balli were World War II Combat Medals, North Africa Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, American Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. The 9th Infantry Division’s famous motto was AAAO, which meant “Anything, Anytime, Anywhere, Bar None”. The Division still exists today after Korea and Vietnam. Mr. Balli was forever proud of being a veteran and he would relate stories of his war experiences to his children and grandchildren. At war’s end, he returned to the Valley where he dedicated his life to his family, church and the community of Alamo. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s when the citrus industry was prosperous, Mr. Balli was in the trucking business. He later changed his business to that of hauling construction materials. Mr. Balli continued to engage in self-employment as his previous training and experience brought him to operate his won auto mechanics/auto body repair business. His final venture was auto sales, which he did for twenty-seven years until he passed away in May 5, 1995.
In his lifetime, Mr. Balli had served his church as president of St. Joseph’s Holy Name Society and actively participated in Catholic Youth Organization activities. He also sponsored a Boy Scout Troop. His public service extended to serving two consecutive terms as City Commissioner for the City of Alamo during the 1950’s.
Mr. Balli had a great love for baseball. He played for the Alamo Wildcats during the late 1940’s and he later coached and managed the team. Not only was Mr. Balli involved with men’s league, he also served the youth of the community by coaching and managing Little League baseball in the 1950’s. His contribution of time, effort and entertainment for the city in baseball spanned over a period of about 15 years. The City of Alamo honored Mr. Balli for all his contributions to the community by dedicating a park in his name.