Emotional Stories Told at Community Vigil

by Ronnie Zamora/LFCISD

The stories were real and so were the hugs and tears that followed.

The 3rd Annual Community Vigil in observance of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month held Wednesday at Los Fresnos United was highlighted by the story of 12-year-old Jake Avila of Harlingen.

Jake’s parents, Karl and Jennifer Avila, had never spoken to a large audience since Jake passed away less than six months ago. Karl told stories about Jake and his heart of gold. He also reminded the audience that there is nothing harder in life than losing a child.

After his 20-minute speech, the Avilas were greeted by a standing ovation. They hugged by many people who applauded them for sharing their story. Many shed tears together with them. They led the Walk of Hope, holding luminarias and a photo of their son.

Wednesday’s Vigil was held the first held at Los Fresnos CISD. The first two in 2017 and 2018 were held at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley-Brownsville campus.

More than 200 people attended the event which drew 30 community agencies from Cameron County that shared information. The theme of the event was #BeThe1To.

The event was sponsored by Cameron County Mental Health Task Force, Los Fresnos CISD, Tropical Texas Behavioral Health and Office of Cameron County Court-at-Law #4 Judge Sheila Bence.

Two proclamations were presented by Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño. One recognized the month of September as Suicide Awareness Month and the other recognized Sgt. Rey Ordoñez of the Brownsville Police Department for his work in raising awareness.
Luminaries of Hope were also presented.

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