Friends and family filled Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral to capacity in a final farewell to a man known and loved by so many. From lawmakers like Houston State Representatives Carol Alvarado and Sylvester Turner.
“It was a beautiful service you know, very befitting of Mario.”
Hernandez: “We should be so lucky to go out this way, huh?”
Turner: “Oh man, I think it was just the way he would have wanted it, lot of his friends, lot of supporters. Talked about helping those less fortunate, his fire, his spirit, champion of Hispanic causes. You know, he’s a champion, and will always be.”
Carol Alvarado: “I’m very grateful to have been able to spend the last week with him in the hospital, and reading to him, and playing music to him and talking. We were part of each other’s family. We depended on each other for a lot, and we were very loyal to each other. And that’s what I’m going to miss most of all.”
As bagpipes played, the congregation followed the casket containing the Senator, outside the church and underneath a huge Texas flag that was suspended by two ladder trucks. Gallegos spent 22 years as a firefighter before he became a lawmaker.
Former firefighter’s union president Roland Chavez called it a touching tribute:
“I think the archbishop said it all at his legacy. People weere always critical at points, but look at him now. A lot of people in this community benefitted greatly!”
He was known for his strong defense of civil rights, healthcare and economic development in his east side district where about a quarter live in poverty.
One lawmaker said it best: “We should not cry because it’s over. We should smile because it happened.”