Where are they now?
Meet Eric Salley and Linda Maldonado!
Click HERE to see other extraordinary sidewalk counselors in our archives!
Name: Eric Salley and Linda Maldonado
Previous/Current Occupation: Eric: Field Engineer Linda: Global Immigration Consultant
Church: St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Houston, Texas
Major and classification:
Eric: Construction Science, Class of 2010
Linda: International Studies / Minor in Economics, Class of 2012
Eric: Time with Friends Family and loved ones, the Outdoors, Festivals, New cultures/foods/experiences
Linda: Reading, dancing, photography, but most of all, hanging out with friends.
How did you become a volunteer/why are you involved?
Eric: I left high school and went straight into the US Marine Corps to defend my family, friends, and country. I was called to the sidewalk as a prayer warrior to fight for the defenseless just as I had in the Marines. However I did not want to be involved with being a SWC. I figured that was for others to do. Wasn’t I doing enough? Then one day a SW counselor I had considerable respect for challenged my notion that I couldn’t be an effective sidewalk counselor. As a male you feel particularly ineffective because of the notion that you cannot understand what women go through with abortion. This argument is false in that all men have the innate ability to be fathers and to lose children. We all have the ability to love and feel pain and empathize with others pain. As these women came and went from Planned Parenthood it was obvious that either they had very little support from the men in their lives or they had none when they entered. I could try and let God work through me to share the masculine love and support that they were lacking. I could present a different perspective to them, that of a loving brother, boyfriend, father, friend, or husband. I could share all the love God had given me.
Linda: My freshman year at Texas A&M, I was unsure about what I wanted to do as far as clubs or organizations at college, when I ran into one of the Campus Ministers at St. Mary’s who invited me to join the Pro-Life Committee. Even though I was pro-life, I had never been involved with pro-life group before, so I decided that now was a great time to start. From there, I also became more involved with the Coalition for Life in Bryan. Thinking back, I know that God was working in my life at that moment, calling me to become more involved in a movement that needs increasing attention; where we can’t just BE pro-life, but rather we have to ACT pro-life. Becoming involved with the pro-life groups at St. Mary’s and in Bryan was probably one of the best decisions I ever made during my college life, and it has also allowed me to grow in my faith as I struggle to bring hearts closer to God, starting with mine.
Why you are pro life (is there a story here?):
Eric: The more I recognized the parallel between my goal in the Marines of being a protector of the weak and the plight of the unborn, the more I was called to greater conviction. This ultimately led me to the sidewalk in the service of Christ hoping to be an instrument of His will. This was a conversion from ignorance and apathy of abortion to a thirst for knowledge for changing hearts through the 40 Days for Life campaign and the Coalition for Life. I could no longer stand back and watch others do the work that I felt Christ drawing me into.
Any additional thoughts (comments):
Eric: When standing on the sidewalk praying, approaching women for counseling, and suffering the slings and arrows of the blinded world I would feel unsuccessful and discouraged. Through prayer I was sustained and particularly through one quote I had seen from Blessed Mother Teresa “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.” This reminded me it was about God and not me or any success.
Linda: Being involved in the pro-life group at St. Mary’s Student Center has been such an inspiration and life-changing experience for me. That is where I grew closer to God throughout my college career, where God inspired me to step out of my comfort zone to be a witness of His Love, and where I met such wonderful people and made lasting friendships. My time there has formed who I am today