Friday, December 28, 2007
Our Immigrant of the Year is a previous Immigrant of the Day -- Jesus Manuel Cordova, the hero who saved a young boy in the desert whose mother died in an auto accident on Thanksgiving Day 2007. Cordova cared for a 9-year-old boy found wandering alone after his mother died in a crash near the U.S./Mexico border in southern Arizona. The boy was looking for help after his mother crashed her van off a cliff. Unable to pull the mother out of the car, Cordova comforted the boy while they waited for help. The woman unfortunately died a short time later. "[Cordova] stayed with [the boy], told him that everything was going to be all right," the local sherriff said. As temperatures dropped, he gave him a jacket, built a bonfire and stayed with him until about 8 a.m. Friday morning, when a group of hunters passed by and called authorities.
Cordova was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents. He had been trying to walk into the U.S. when he came across the boy. Cordova was returned to Mexico. When interviewed there, he mentioned that he watched over the boy in the desert because he was thinking about his own four children in Mexico and could not leave him alone while he completed his journey to Tucson.
Cordova was honored on December 4 by U.S. and Mexican officials at a border crossing. He stood by shyly with his mother and stepfather as officials talked about his heroism.
Even though Jesus Manuel Vordova was only an undocumented immigrant in the United States for a brief time, his actions make him our Immigrant of the Year. I don't know about you but I would be honored to have him as a neighbor.