Update from Congressman Pete Gallego

In small towns across South and West Texas, we all know each other. We know each other’s kids. We know each other’s parents. And, when tragedy strikes, we all know it. We feel it. We share it. 

Recently, tragedy struck in Marfa with the sudden loss of Andrew Madrid, a freshman at Marfa High School. The tragedy impacted me deeply. 

As a parent, I can think of nothing more horrible or more painful than the loss of a child. It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Somehow, you know that sooner or later you will have to say goodbye to your parents – but you never expect to lose your child or your grandchild – not when their whole life lies ahead of them.

My condolences and my prayers go out to Andrew’s family, including his grandparents, Linda and Fred Aguilar of Marfa. May their immense pain be lessened by the knowledge that he was special, that he was happy and that he was loved. However, though the passage of time will make things easier, I doubt the searing pain ever entirely goes away.

What are the lessons to be taken from this tragedy? What can all of us across South and West Texas learn from this loss? The truth is that we can learn several things – and they are all important lessons.

First, hug your kid every day. In fact, hug everyone in your life every day. Let them know how you feel. If you pass up an opportunity to tell your kids you love them, you might not get another chance. Andrew’s passing reminds us that we are all mortal. It hits us hard – it reminds us that every day could be our last.
Second, Andrew’s passing underscores the importance of first responders in our communities. Having coverage all the time – and back up coverage, too – is critical. You hope you never need it. Yet, when you need help, it’s comforting to know that help will, in fact, be there. First response is an expensive proposition. If we want it to be a priority, we have to get involved and work together to make it so.

Lastly, though the details of Andrew’s death are not entirely known, we must remain committed to health, sports safety and adequate supervision. We should all have physical exams regularly. We must know our limits and how to take care of ourselves and of each other – that includes learning the basics of first aid. Not so long ago, I was able to help save the life of a young child on an airplane simply because I knew what to do.

As the father of a young son, I cannot imagine the pain now felt by Andrew’s family and friends. The loss must be both devastating and debilitating. My own world seemingly rotates around my son. Nicolás Miguel is all María Elena and I have in life. I cannot even imagine.

I pray that God may give Andrew’s parents and grandparents, his family members and his friends the comfort, support and strength they need during an extremely difficult time. And, I pray that each and every one of us will resolve to better appreciate those we love each and every day. 

May light perpetually shine on Andrew’s memory. May he rest in peace.

For more information on U.S. Rep. Gallego, visit www.gallego.house.gov. Learn more about U.S. Rep. Gallego by liking his Facebook page or by following him on Twitter.