I have decided that it is important to share with the Voters events from my life that that either helped shape who I am or illustrate something about me.
Today I want to share about something from back when I was in law school. At that time I kept having a feeling that I should volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. That did not make sense I had no money, law school was extremely time consuming and challenging. I tried to put the thought out of my mind but it would not go away. Eventually I gave in and volunteered.
Bernie Salazar was a Middle School student who lived with his mother and sister. His father was a San Antonio police officer who I was told was killed by drug dealers while he worked under cover. Bernie was having nightmares about the men who killed his father and was having trouble at school. His mother wanted to get him an Hispanic man to be his big brother. I believe she felt it was important that Bernie’s volunteer have shared cultural experiences with his father, but I was the only volunteer available.
When I was paired with Bernie I knew I was not his mother’s preference and I was concerned that I would not know what to say to a boy who had been through what Bernie had been through. I need not have been concerned. Bernie had a lot of questions and was very interested in my opinion on everything. We saw each other every week, his mother did not regret agreeing to me. I bought him his first shaving kit and I tried to do for him the things his father would have done. I know I was never as good a fisherman as his father.
Bernie was a groomsman with my brothers at my wedding and I was Best Man at his wedding. I know Bernie has grown into an extraordinary man who is devoted to his children. I hope his father approves of me and how I helped raise his son. For my part I could not be more proud of the man Bernie has become.
Bernie did give me permission to share our story as soon as he knew I was running for judge which I greatly appreciate. Without his permission this would have remained private.