Local Musician Turned Veterans' Advocate Releases Poetry Book, All Proceeds Go to Help Veterans in Need

A former local musician gone veterans advocate is having a release party for his first poetry book, and all proceeds are going to his program Pay It Forward Tucson—a nonprofit that helps low-income families and veterans in Pima County.

The book, titled "Thoughts and Poetry for the Soul and out of Boredom," was released on Amazon a couple of weeks ago. "I really have no words to express my feelings right now," Engel Indo says in an email.

The book is a compilation of thoughts and poems Indo has posted on Facebook over the past five years. Some are in English and some are in his native language, Spanish. "It is 188 pages of personal experiences in love, in hate, in hope or the lack thereof," he says. 

I featured Indo, who is also a veteran, on the Tucson Weekly's "Local Heroes" issue from 2012. 

Many people know Indo through the Latin rock band A Son y Sol that used to play gigs on the streets of Fourth Avenue and at La Indita Mexican Restaurant. But his aspirations have always gone beyond performing. In the past couple of years, Indo has created various projects that benefit Tucson and communities south of the border, all the way to his hometown of Callao, Peru.

In 2010, Indo created De La Perla a Las Estrellas (From La Perla to the Stars), a program that used music to teach English to children growing up in Callao's La Perla district. It's one of the poorest districts in Peru, and where Indo grew up.

"Everything I do is out of my own pocket," Indo told me at the time. "So, unfortunately, that is also one of the things that holds me back from doing more: not having enough money. But as long as I have the will to help, and I keep trying, something good will come out of it."

Here's what his days look like at Pay It Forward Tucson (from my Local Heroes piece):
Engel Indo sits in his office at the newly-opened Kino Veterans' Workforce Center, holding a Harley-Davidson coffee mug in one hand while answering nonstop phone calls from people who desperately need his help.

One caller asks if Indo can get a free pair of prescription glasses for a 90-something veteran who has lost his; another asks Indo to help raise money for a veteran's funeral; and another wants to know if Indo had an extra TV at home that he could donate to an impoverished veteran who wants to start watching the news again.

In the span of an hour, Indo has figured out how to help all of them. That's how his days go since he became a volunteer for AmeriCorps VISTA a couple of months ago.
Go listen to some interesting poetry and help a good cause.

The book release party is on Tuesday, July 28 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Galeria Cuadro Arte Latino Internacional, 927 E. University Blvd. There will be a book singing, discussion and light refreshments.