By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
The Rio Grande Valley is known as a place of community, a place where neighbor can be counted on to help neighbor. The Cameron County Constable’s Office, Pct. 1, is just one example of that.
This week, former Constable Mike Barberena and current Constable Pete Delgadillo announced a fundraising effort they’ve begun to help a former deputy in need.
Mario Martinez served in the Constable’s office in the early to mid-1990s, Barberena said. Recently, Martinez has become overwhelmed with medical expenses related to diabetes. “He is not working; he is not getting any help,” Barberena said.
“He gave his personal life helping lower crime in the area. He served papers and he did a lot of things for me and the other constable (Lupe Rosales),” Barberena said. “I feel that it’s time that, as a community, we come together and help this gentleman, you know, ease his problem,” he said.
Delgadillo expressed empathy with Martinez’s situation, saying, “It’s very sad. … We’ve been there. It gets very emotional and it drains your strength.”
“We’re trying to get this ball rolling for Mr. Martinez,” Delgadillo added, saying he is appealing to the community for help.
This is not the first time the Laguna Madre community has rallied to support a well-respected member, Barberena said, but it is the first time the Constable’s office has hosted a fundraiser itself. “We know that there’s a few people in our community that have served … our community; they deserve our help,” he said.
Delgadillo said his office is interested in helping more people, encouraging those who need help to go to the Constable’s office. “Maybe we can do other projects later on,” he said. “The first thing to do is to get the first fundraiser under our belt,” he said.
For now, those who wish to help Martinez can do so by contacting the Constable’s office at (956)459-5382 to donate to the fundraising efforts. Barbecue plates will also be sold on Saturday, Aug. 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the site of the former Mora’s Grocery in Laguna Heights. The former store is located at the corner of State Highway 100 and Van Buren Street, Delgadillo said.
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