LA FERIA — The cold front didn’t stop anyone from honoring their local hero.
A large crowd donned jackets and hats Saturday morning knowing nothing would stop them from attending a name change of a city street after Javier Vega Jr.
Vega, 36, had warmed their hearts in one way or another during his life, which ended too early.
Vega, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, died nearly three years ago in the line of duty protecting his family and his country.
On Saturday city leaders gathered with Border Patrol agents, the community and Vega’s family to honor him by renaming Fifth Street after him.
“This means a lot to us,” said, said Maria Vega, Javier’s mother. “You being here is a reflection of the type of man that Javier was.”
Maria said he was very well loved and very well liked.
“We are in awe and grateful,” Maria said.” As long as I’m alive I will not let Javier’s legacy die.”
Javier died in August 2014 while on a fishing trip with his family along the Rio Grande River. He was attacked and gunned down by two illegal immigrants.
Javier served on the Border Patrol as a K-9 handler.
“Agent Vega was a ture patriot,” said Henry Leo, U.S. Border Patrol agent in charge of the Harlingen Border Patrol station. “He served in the Marines, he served in Border Patrol and he died protecting his family.”
Leo said when the Border Patrol was contacted by La Feria City Hall administrators, the agency was all in.
“We are honored and pledged that we are never going to forget Javier,” Leo said. “It was a perfect opportunity for Border Patrol to partner up with the community.
Javier grew up on Fifth Street, making the renaming of it fitting.
His mother recalls Javier running with the neighborhood children, riding his bike up and down the street and always having friends over.
“We hope that this can be a stepping stone to give his family some solace, his family deserves it, and he deserves it,” said Esmeralda Lozano, La Feria city commissioner. “I’m glad that the community came out to honor him, and to be with his family.”
Mayor Olga Maldonado welcomed everyone in attendance to what she called a historical moment.
“I am very humbled and very blessed to announce that the commission came together and was united in renaming the city street after Javier.”
“It was in our hearts,” Maldonado said. “We knew we had to do this, and it’s something that we well never forget.”
• Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega, Jr. entered on duty with the Border Patrol on February 11, 2008, with BP Class 745 and graduated from BP Academy in New Mexico.
• On August 3, 2014, Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega, Jr. was killed during an aggravated robbery attempt near Harlingen while he was off duty.
• On July 24, 2017 Chairman of Homeland Security, renamed the Sarita, Texas Border Patrol checkpoint the Javier Vega, Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint in honor.