Calexico Honors “Eddie” On Down Syndrome Day
By Mario Conde
The Calexico community gathered this past Tuesday to celebrate and recognize Gerardo “Eddie” Paez during World Down Syndrome Day.
Early Tuesday morning friends and family of Gerardo Paez, better known as Eddie to everyone in Calexico, gathered in front of the Calexico City Hall to kick off an all day celebration and different activities for Eddie during World Down Syndrome Day. Eddie represented the city in those events and he was named the honorary Mayor for the day.
World Down Syndrome Day, observed on March 21st every year, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Calexico decided to honor Eddie since he is a beloved member of the community that everyone knows. Eddie is seen every day riding his bike or working at Emmanuel Barber Shop where people greet him and talk to him. For most residents living in Calexico they all know Eddie and consider him a friend.
Dr. Manuel Yanez was the chair of the Calexico Down Syndrome committee who stated that Eddie is a friend of the community and wanted to honor his contributions to the community and also create awareness about Down Syndrome in Calexico.
“Eddie has contributed a lot to the community by being involved in sports, park clean ups, he is a friend that brings us a lot of happiness and puts a smile in our face every time we see him,” Yanez said. “Eddie is friendship, Eddie is happiness, Eddie is contribution since he always wants to help without asking anything in return and that’s why we all love him.”
Following the event at City Hall, Eddie had a ride along with the Calexico Police, then honored his former co-workers at the ARC/GSA, and ended at a Calexico Parents Athletic League with a soccer tournament.
Gloria Lozano, Eddie’s mother, was excited to see her son’s accomplishments and his willingness to be someone important that people can rely on. Lozano shared that Eddie has been very social since he was a kid and always wanted to improve in every job he had and help others that need help.
“He is always talking that he wants to be police or a sheriff officer,” Lozano said. “I always knew that people love Eddie and he is so excited that he asked for his family to be present today.”
Luis Gonzalez from Emmanuel’s Barber Shop said that Eddie is a wonderful person and has shared many wonderful moments with him.
“He is an outstanding person that has many qualities and I’ve been amazed about the way he is because Down Syndrome is not a disability, they are just like us and what they do they do it with all their heart and that’s why I’m still close to Eddie,” Gonzalez said.