Socorro lost a great man, but he still has much to teach

It takes a nearly immeasurable amount of heart, love, dedication and will to spend a life as a public servant.

Not many human beings, or many whom I know personally embodied all of those characteristics and more than the late Toby Jaramillo.

Admittedly, I didn’t know him well. Our interactions were very few and far between. But Toby was somewhat of a myth to me as both a journalist and a member of this community. While we have been blessed with a great and wide variety of men and women who serve this great little community in regard to public service including civil service, teachers, parents, coaches and city employees, I’m not sure many or if any of us have the life resume that Mr. Jaramillo has.

He is a soldier. He served his country. He is a businessman. He served his customers. He is a county commissioner. He served his county. And most recently he is and was a Socorro City councilor. He served his city.

His lived his life giving a gosh darn about everyone around him, and that is beyond rare.

He is a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and not many people live a full enough life to experience the full gamut of life like that.

We all know that he spent 50 years – and let that stew in your brain and your heart – 50 years arranging an annual food drive. That’s more than 60,000 individuals served. Again, let that sit in your brain for a moment. He helped six Socorros. He helped an entire city six times over.

I’m 38 years old, and I cannot imagine having the level of dedication required to serve a community for half of a century. We need more human beings like him, maybe now more than ever. And while Mr. Jaramillo isn’t with us in body, he’s the type of person that will live with his family, live with this community in spirit for what I hope is the next 50 years and beyond.

Toby reminds me of my late grandfather, Jim. We weren’t necessarily close, but he was, like Toby, a go-getter. He couldn’t sit still. He spent every minute of his woken life trying to make life better for his family, for his community. He also fished more than any human person realistically should, but we all have our vices.

His name is tattooed on my right wrist, and for good reason. Nothing mattered to him outside of family and community. Like Toby he served his country, he served his family, he served his friends, he served himself in the most selfless way possible.

By being a good man.

I’m so fortunate to have loving, supportive, caring parents and I believe my parents embody the same qualities that my grandfather had, that Toby had; the same qualities that will live on with my family, my siblings, and my friends (hopefully) long after I leave this world. Hopefully peacefully, but I do have a propensity for climbing slippery rocks even though I am a fervent acrophobic.

Again, I didn’t know Mr. Jaramillo closely, but I take solace in knowing he’s the kind of person I would want to sit by a lake with and just and listen to. He may be gone in body, but the spiritual side of me tells me he still has a lot to say to all of us.