EL CENTRO â€“ U.S. Border Patrol agents gathered for the 7th Annual Robert Rosas’ Memorial Relay Run last July 23.
One agent, Border Patrol Frank Santos, had not fully recovered from injuries sustained in the line of duty.
â€œIâ€™m not. Iâ€™m always in a lot of pain, but thatâ€™s just something that I deal with,â€ Santos said.
But that pain didnâ€™t keep him from joining the 56-mile run to honor a fallen brother Saturday â€“ an annual tradition for the Border Patrol in southern California that he began.
â€œAs of 2010, Iâ€™ve been doing it ever since,â€ Santos said.
It started Thursday at 6 p.m. in Campo near the international border where Rosas was killed. It ended Friday morning at Rosas’ grave site in Evergreen Cemetery in El Centro.
â€œI myself have been through a very traumatic experience dealing with the criminal element,â€ Santos said.
He said this run brings healing and unity to the Border Patrol family.
â€œRobert in his absence continues to unify us. The brothers and sisters in green, we come together every year. Same day, same time we started. We all work together. All different shapes. All different sizes. A brotherhood of law enforcement officers and agents coming together to end what starts as our mission,â€ Santos said.
Agent Rushwan Jawherdizaye said the run is a physical challenge, â€œIt was pretty punishing.â€Â But itâ€™s a tradition heâ€™s ready to be a part.Â â€œReally need to impress upon the younger agents that we are a family,â€ Jawherdizaye said.
Santos said Rosas will always be remembered.
Rosasâ€™ children received a Border Patrol flag in honor of their father.
â€œI will do it as long as Rosalie will have us do it, as long as she allows me to do this and give back to the family â€“ absolutely,â€ Santos said.
Border Patrol agents and family said the relay run does not end here, but continues in their hearts where the memory of agent Robert W. Rosas continues to live on.