By ESTEVAN MEDRANO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Elected officials and representatives of Cameron County — including Port Isabel Mayor Joe E. Vega, Cameron County Judge Pete Sepulvada, Jr. and County Commissioner Sofia C. Benavides — and members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) helped officially open the Jaime J. Zapata Memorial Boat Ramp, Fishing Pier & Kayak Launch Pad with a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 8. The new pier is one of a few, but growing number, of public piers in the Laguna Madre area. The project is dedicated to the memory of Jaime J. Zapata, an ICE agent who was killed in the line of duty while serving in Mexico.
“Zapata gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Kevin Benson, ICE assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in Brownsville. “He gave his life for our country in Mexico working in the line of duty to make this country and Mexico a safer country. And I appreciate the elected officials and the residents of Cameron County who make these efforts and dedicate this boat ramp in this area to commemorate him,” he said.
The pier allows for visitors to enjoy fishing and the launch pad provides a safe send off point for kayakers into the San Martin Lake. Funds for the $125,000 project were obtained by the Texas General Land Office and the Cameron County Park & Recreation Department; construction was conducted by Alpha Builders Corporation, Inc. The fishing pier, which will be accompanied by solar lighting, is 47 feet by 6 feet and the kayak launch pad is 20 feet by 6 feet.
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