Today Nye County mourns the passing of a great man. It seems God always takes the good ones. We lose a man who was a strong family man who loved his wife and his three kids and a man dedicated to serving his community.
I write this to all my readers, so that they may know that a great man has gone home to God. There is no humor today, nothing but tears and joy. Joy in that Harvey Gonzalez is no longer in pain and I believe he is now with the Lord. Harvey may have passed away but he left a strong spirit of hope in his wake.
His illness brought Nye County together uniting the county. It was evident in the money raised for his family — probably well over $50,000, but the money did not just come from Tonopah. It came from the hearts of everyone in rural Nevada. Harvey touched those in Eureka, Alamo, Beatty, Esmeralda County and Pahrump. It seemed everywhere the Tonopah Muckers played, that teams opened their hearts and donated.
He left us at such a young age of 44, but taught us all regardless of age how to face adversity with courage. He gave us hope in mankind and showed us the generosity people have in their hearts. In these troubling times, it is good to know that goodness surrounds all of us.
I just knew him as a coach. All through this past summer I heard great things coming out from Tonopah. Former Muckers volleyball Coach Judi Boni told me that Harvey was the perfect replacement for her. He had helped coach the junior varsity for 10 years and she said he was ready for the job. In the month leading up to the Pahrump Valley High School Volleyball Invitational, I heard nothing but how much the team was coming together from phone conversations with Harvey and was anxious to see them play.
The invitational for the Muckers is a great showcase to see how good they are, for teams from Division I, I-A, III and IV are all in one tourney. I enjoy watching the Muckers come down every year because they come ready to play. It’s fun to watch them beat up on the bigger schools. I barely knew Harvey, but from how his team performed that day I knew he could coach.
The year before, the Muckers came and took second place at Pahrump. Harvey came to win and he almost did. The Muckers beat up many teams that day and Harvey showed people his team was ready to take on Division IV. Even Ginger Whipple, the veteran coach of 32 some years from Pahranagat Valley, told me after the tourney that Gonzalez knew what he was doing.
I really thought after that tourney that the Muckers could beat Pahranagat Valley again for state. Harvey came close and almost had the Cinderella year. The team lost in the state semifinals. Harvey taught his girls this year to go down fighting with spirit and they did.
It was after state that Harvey took on the fight for his life and discovered he had stage four colon cancer. It took just five months for the disease to take this brave man. Like he taught his girls, he went down fighting.
I saw him at his benefit dinner in January. He could barely walk, but he had a lot of fight in him. I could see it in his eyes that he wanted to live for his family. Harvey lost his fight late Monday afternoon. We will all miss him and I pray that the spirit that united the county behind him remains for some time into the future.
Here is Harvey’s last Facebook post. In it he thanks Nye County, his friends and talks about his three kids in the end.
Hello to all our family and friends,
I would first like to give my utmost gratitude and sincere thanks to Lisa and Joey Westerlund and the rest of that gang that helped raise so much money for my incurring medical expenses. Without leaving anybody else out, every moment, every step, every effort, every blue ribbon, every “Hearts For Harvey” bracelet, T-shirt, and thoughtful gesture is much appreciated. The community response has been so overwhelming and breathtaking.
I would like to thank everyone for the gratitude of living in a small community after coming from a large city such as San Diego. For those of you who don’t even know me, yet thought of me, prayed for me or donated in my family’s behalf, thank you. I would also like to thank everyone coming together in faith in praising the almighty God and for a beautiful prayer vigil held outside our home.
To all my Facebook followers, friends, acquaintances, and those of you who have been texting me, that I haven’t responded to, I love you, I miss you, I thank you for your thoughts, well wishes and prayers. I am happy to be at home and comfortable with my family. I am so sorry it’s been so long since I have posted, commented, or hash-tagged (how in the hell am I gonna hashtag?). I have colorectal carcinoma with liver metastases with carcinomatosis into my abdomen. I have had a few setbacks during this disease, I have fought hard and am waiting now for God to take me home.
I would like to give another special shout-out to the Elks lodge #1062 of Tonopah. I waited 5 years to get in and in those 5 years they have taught me to become a leader. I rose my way up in the ranks in the Elks and I eventually became Grand Exalted Ruler and was able to pass my baton from the Elks to Clark Jewett. To my Brothers in Elkdom, there was a time and a place that if you were in good standing order and that if you have a need with an outstretched hand that need would be met by Elks across the nation. I truly believe with all my heart that that need was met for me and my family.
I would like to thank Sheriff Tony De Meo, Lieutenant Mike Dolfin, Deputy Rick Marshall, Sergeant Scott Guthridge and Lieutenant Frank Bird for giving me the opportunity to continue my law enforcement career.
Rotary always was an intriguing part of my life, I was intrigued by what they did, but never knew what they did. I knew they met on Tuesdays but it was invite only. So one Monday afternoon I answer a phone call in my office from the “crazy lady” and she introduced herself to me as Joanie Eastley and she says “I’ve been watching you and was wondering if you would like to be taken into our secret society”. I told her sure and then I had to make three consecutive meetings and on the third meeting give a reason why I would like to become a member of Rotary, which I did, and I believed it and I think they believed it because they made me a Rotarian. Within a year and a half of being a Rotarian, I made the mistake of missing a meeting and they then bless you with being the next year’s club president, thanks Don and Cindy!
I was kind of courted and groomed into the position of being a member of the Tonopah Town Board. They told me you can leave at any time, and they told me I was doing it for the kids, and they know my weakness was for the kids. Also, to help make changes in the community, to beautify, rectify, clean up the old buildings, improve the parks and to take away all the Denver Bronco fans. I am grateful I took this position, it was a blessing.
I couldn’t write this with a good conscience unless I mentioned this one individual. This one individual sat in the back, something in his eyes, good, bad or indifferent, you’d be right there in the middle. I’ve known this individual since I was 20. From the moment I met him he has taught me more about love, peace, understanding, and how to resolve conflict. There was a time when he went through one of the hardest times he’d have to go through and I wasn’t there for him, not out of my own fault, just the circumstances, and it crushed me knowing he was in pain and all I could do is tell him I loved him, even though those words I never think reached him, but my feelings never wavered. Oh how I wish it could have been me that was suffering.
To Taylor, you have only been in our lives a short while. I don’t know why God has planted you here, but I myself I am so unbelievably thankful. You have brought an amount of joy and love in a short amount of time. You have an upcoming marriage and I am so thankful and excited for your new beginning to your new lives. Please remember to take it slow and if each of you can look at it by each giving 60% and the other person giving 10% I think it will go a long way. And remember when you are in my house no Giants gear!
Belle was our first girl, and I knew she was going to be a girl from the moment we found out we were going to have her. She never complained, she follows the rules, she never wanted to disappoint us, and so she did what she needed to do. Everything I was doing, she was right by my side, helping me with chores, it didn’t matter what it was, picking up weeds or cleaning the garage. She would shovel the sidewalk with me. She volunteered at the Elks with me, donating at least 35 hours of community service. She was always eager to help. We always enjoyed camping, fishing, we did it all together. I helped her catch her first fish out at Kingston when she was 7. There was an 8th grade dance that I remember and she was the prettiest one there, everyone wanted to dance with her, all these guys wanted to dance with her, and she chose to dance with Garret. I was so proud of her.
As we moved down the road, we were blessed with new family members, last but not least was the very high energetic, very charismatic girl by the name of Marisol. She always kept us on our toes, regardless of what we were doing. She always wanted to be dolled up. She is very strong-willed and stubborn so I know she will never be walked on in life because she doesn’t sit back and let people take advantage of her. We love you Mari.
Peace out homies!