POSTED: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 10:39pm
UPDATED: Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 3:09pm
EL PASO, TX — Patsy Gomez is her husband Angel Gomez's right hand woman. Both born and raised in El Paso, she met him while shopping for a car.
"I didn't buy a car from him, but I kept him for the past 30 years," said Gomez.
Their love is one of selflessness.
"We realized that there was a need in the community being two people because it really started with my husband and I, two people decided what can we do with a little bit of extra money. We started feeding people, giving out supplies," said Gomez.
And so Angel Gomez started Operation Hope in 1995, fueled by community support.
"We also involve members of the community because if it wasn't for the other people that serve this community there would be no Operation Hope.Operation Hope does not have paid employees, it's a 100% volunteers," said Gomez.
Their message is clear.
"There's always somebody out there willing to help their fellow man and that's really what it's all about. It's really been a labor of love that the whole family does, but Angel of course, is the heart of Operation Hope," said Gomez.
Angel Gomez lives a life dedicated to giving.
"My grandfather always told me to live is to give and it stuck with me. If you don't have anything to give, give your time. That is a blessing in itself," said Gomez.
And that's what you can find Angel doing on any given day. Like when News Channel Nine told you about how he helped a struggling family get their baby girl to San Antonio for surgery to repair two holes in her heart.
“It's a beautiful feeling, it's a very beautiful feeling to feel helping the family or anybody that you can," said Gomez.
And he enlists the entire family to help. They are local superheroes to some.
“ Being able to start something from nothing, teaming up with my dad, who is a great example, who gets things done, without hesitation. You tell him and he'll find a way to make it happen,” said Ruby Gomez, Angel's daughter.
Ruby Gomez grew up learning from her dad's example.
"A man that believes in faith. A man that believes in God and Christianity and he feels that God told him that he needed to make a difference. To be able to help your neighbors, be there for family, be there for friends in their time of need because you never know when you're gonna be that person that needs help. A lot of things that he manages to do it's only by the grace of God, because some things to me it's kind of like a miracle," said Gomez.
The Gomez family is no stranger to miracles, just ask Pastor Perry Kerney, whose known angel for more than 10 years. He was by Angel's side a few years ago, when Angel's heart condition almost took his life.
"Bishop went to the hospital and they said he would not leave without open heart surgery. And so Bishop Johnson and myself, prayed for Angel and the doctors said the arteries were open and he walked out of the hospital and got right back to helping people in the community,” said Kerney.
Patsy Gomez thinks Operation Hope kept Angel going.
"Anything that Operation Hope stands for is the hope that maybe this has helped him continue because he could have been dead five or six years ago," said Gomez.
Angel recounts that time in the hospital.
"He's holding on to my hand and he said Angel theres something for you to do. God doesn't want you yet. You've got to do what he wants you do to," said Gomez.
Pastor Kerney feels Angel Gomez is a blessing to Destiny Church.
"Tremendous man, probably has the biggest heart of anyone I know in the world. Angel is a giver. Working with Angel helps us to be a better blessing in El Paso," said Kerney.
Angel's congestive heart failure has progressed and slowed down his heart but not his spirit. He told his wife he feels he needs to retire.
"This is the last year that I feel like I'm gonna be able to do this. Angel's health is declining and a lot of people don't see that. They see a happy go lucky person," said Gomez.
Gomez says Operation Hope has kept Angel going.
"The fact that he can focus on others has helped him also help his health," said Gomez.
Although he feels his time is short, the bracelet on his hand reads do not resuscitate trusts god has a plan.
"And that's just part of life, people worry about it and get scared about it, there's nothing to be scared. The reason I say that is because I've already been through it and the other side is the most beautiful place that u can even imagine. This is why Operation Hope helps a lot of families that can't give their loved one that last goodbye," said Angel Gomez.
Just this past September, Operation Hope provided a casket for baby Neveah, allegedly killed by her mother's boyfriend.
"I appreciate it a lot from all the people that came. People that don't know us. Everyone that helped I appreciate them all for helping us during this hard time," said baby Neveah's parents.
It's tragedies like that one that are the hardest for Angel , and reminds him to cherish his grandson and family.
"I want my son to know what a great man his grandpa is and I want my son to be a great man and a great leader," said Rubi Gomez.
"He's gonna grow up hopefully being a family man, seeing the importance of volunteering , the importance of family, the importance of caring for other people and that's how I want him to grow up. He has a great role model first of all his grandpa," said Angel's son-in-law Jesus Hernandez.
Angel leads by example.
"First of all take care of your family, and after you take care of your family, take care of your fellow man," said Angel Gomez.
No matter what they need.
"The shirt off his back, jewelry off his hands, literally to people he just gives it away. He says somebody else needs it you know and they would use that money for whatever reason and that's my dad," said Rubi Gomez. “Or receive a turkey for the holiday season because the parents had no food, or no money to buy turkeys or thanksgiving meals, it makes a big difference."
Angel feels Operation Hope will continue even though he is retiring.
"We've done it since 95, and I hope it continues and I'm confident it will continue," said Gomez.