Melissa M. Lopez
Melissa M. Lopez

This is my absolute favorite photo of my grandma. I was a young child cuddled in her arms with no idea the pain she had experienced for our family to be living that moment. As is the case with so many of us, my grandma was the heart of our family. She migrated to the United States with my grandfather, my mom, and my aunt in her early 20s. She migrated through a petition filed by her sister. My grandma and grandpa settled in Smeltertown, the now extinct community at the foot of the Asarco silo. Only a few years after migrating, my grandfather died in a work related accident on Mt. Cristo Rey. My grandma was 23 years old and the mother of now three children ages 5, 3, and 6 months. As a widow and having recently migrated to the US, she found herself looking for the best way to support her family. She became a cook and dishwasher in local El Paso restaurants. She would do that until she got too sick too work. She ultimately raised six children and those six children had children of their own. I am so proud of the foundation of our family. My cousins and I have been blessed beyond measure because we had a grandma and our own parents who did whatever it took to put food on the table and support us at every point in our lives. We are teachers, business owners, attorneys, and nurses amongst other things. But, more importantly, we are dedicated to our family and work hard for the next generation. We have accomplished so much, and it is all due to the first step on the staircase of our family, my grandma. It has been over 20 years since she passed, but every time I look at this picture, I am reminded of the love of my grandma and the sacrifice she made for our entire family. For that reason, I work at DMRS and try to pay forward the blessings I have received. I work every day to try to make a difference in our community and in the lives of those we serve in an effort to honor the sacrifice and love of my grandma.

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