By Kelsey Givens
Fallen but not forgotten.
That seemed the perfect way to describe the memorial cookout held for Nevada Southern Detention Center Lt. Alejandro Gomez on Tuesday in the parking lot of his former workplace.
The skies were blue, the air was warm and a cooling breeze kept everything comfortable as friends, co-workers and other members of the community flocked to the detention facility to remember Gomez and raise money for the family the man leaves behind.
Gomez passed tragically on April 17 from injuries sustained when he was struck by a white Chevrolet Blazer driven by a man named Russell McMorris, 77, in the parking lot of the Pahrump Nugget.
McMorris may have been suffering from some kind of medical issue at the time he lost control of his vehicle.
Co-workers spoke passionately about Gomez at the cookout, remembering his kind, generous spirit and the way in which he touched them all in one way or another.
“He was a wonderful man who loved his kids,” said James Rice, a Corrections Corporation of America co-worker of Gomez’s.
“He was a religious man who loved his family and someone you knew you could depend on,” employee Shawn Newton added.
They both spoke of how the lieutenant cared for all of his fellow employees and led by example, making sure to treat everyone, no matter their rank, the same.
“He taught us a lot about the job,” they said. “He can’t be replaced. He was one of a kind.”
Nine tents were set up with rows of tables and chairs to seat those who came out to grab a bite to eat and support the Gomez family.
The tables were filled by lunch time and Chaplain Adam Gildner said it had been scattered, but people had been there all morning since the cookout opened.
“It’s great to see people from town coming together for this and making everyone feel like a part of the community,” Gildner said.
“It’s interesting that in situations like these, the worst thing you can do is to isolate yourself. But when everyone comes together as a group, it can be very therapeutic and help start the healing process,” he said.
Members of Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue and Nye County Sheriff’s Office made sure to get their lunch at the event too to show their support.
A truck sat at the entrance to the cookout with a black, blue and silver banner in remembrance of Gomez.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God,” the sign read in large bold letters.
Fellow co-workers and friends will continue to raise money for Gomez’s family with a spaghetti dinner set to take place at the Moose Lodge on April 29.
The dinner will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and all proceeds will go to help support the family.
A memorial service was also being held Tuesday night at The Church of God to help further provide closure for those who knew Gomez.
His funeral services are reportedly scheduled to be held in San Diego where his family is originally from.