Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Diary July 26, 2011

DREAM Act Texas went silent for a month.  I had just gotten back to writing when my brother passed away.  He is my only sibling.  Funny how losing someone can make you want to be quiet for a while.

He had diabetes.  He was extremely overweight.  He never took care of himself, avoided taking his insulin for years.  In his mid forties it was too late. One leg was amputated and another needed to be, but he said no.  We all knew it was a matter of time.

He was a firefighter for over 20 years with the City of Rosenberg.  Since the funeral people have been coming up to my mother telling her that he ran into burning buildings to save children.  His friends say he would give his shirt for someone in need.  He was quiet about all the things he did, but they say he was a great man.

The last years we didn't talk much.  Our lives have diverged - we were almost at opposite sides of the spectrum.  He liked to play poker.  He loved watching football.  He collected miniature fire engines.  He liked country music.

He didn't go to college or write books like I did, but he was a well respected fireman.  He was also a great uncle to my kids while I was a single mother.  I am sorry we didn't say much to each other the last years.  I guess that happens sometimes.  But one thing I can say is that I remember when he was born, when he crawled, when he first walked.  I remember him growing up, taking him to school in the morning (I am eight years older).  He is in scores of family pictures that I have

A year or so before he died he told me that he took too long to start taking care of his medical problems.  He kept waiting to do something tomorrow.  Its is a lesson for all of us.

Jose "Jojo" Felipe Hernandez II
Retired, Rosenberg Fire Department

In all of the commotion after the funeral and taking care of family issues, I wasn't able to get the addresses of his friends to thank them.  They orchestrated an incredible funeral for him.  They arranged for a fire truck to take his casket from the church to the cemetery.  They had two trucks with ladders crown the entrance to the cemetery.  They shut down the main street of Rosenberg and Richmond as his funeral procession went by.  They had a Color Guard salut him.  Other firemen friends sang and played the piano for him.  Funeral homes in Rosenberg and Houston sent limousines to carry his wife and my parents to the cemetery.

Thank you Jeff, Sammy B. and family, Joe G., Michael G and family, George V. and his sons Michael and Steven, Rick T., Davis Funeral Home, Compean Funeral Home, the Rosenberg, Richmond, Stafford and Sugar Land Fire Departments, the Rosenberg Police Department, and Richmond Police Department, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department. The Rosenberg-Richmond Knights of Columbus.  Father James Abercrombie, and Father John Broussard.*

I also want to thank my aunt Rosa Flores and her daughters (and their families) for their incredible support of my parents during and after the funeral.  My cousins:  Rosario Stanford, Cynthia Rios, Gracie Rodriguez, Elsa Alvarez, Mary Ann Guerrero, and Irene Salinas.

*I will be adding more names.

California DREAMer Bill Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown

Following through on a campaign promise, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law Monday easing access to privately funded financial aid for undocumented college students. He also signaled that he was likely to back a more controversial measure allowing those students to seek state-funded tuition aid in the future.