Monday, February 21, 2011

Eleazar "Patch" Cortez" A Cops Cop - 1950-2011

" Patch"  Cortez

The City of Harlingen and San Benito has lost one of their favorite sons, Eleazar "Patch" Cortez. "PATCH" as he was best known passed away on 17 February 2011. If you were to look in the dictionary and look up the word integrity, you would see the picture of Patch Cortez.  Patch was not only a great public servant, he was a loyal, friend, father and loving husband.  Patch loved his dear wife "Odie" and three girls beyond description. If you would let him, He could talk all day about his family, literally. Before I became an officer, I sometimes would send my time riding along with "Patch". He was always willing to put up with my silly questions, I really enjoyed my time riding with Patch, he was a Cops Cop.  I remember one night in particular I was riding with Patch and it was blistery cold, unusally cold for the Rio Grande Valley. We pulled in to the Rode Way Inn cafe at about 1:30 a.m. for a cup of hot coffee.  Patch and I had been at the table for about 30 minutes or so when we we heard the door open, we both turned to see who was coming in so late. I had to do a double take, so did Patch;  I asked Patch, "is that who I think it is?"  He responded back  and said, hell I have no idea, but go ask him.  So I mustered up enough courage and walked over to this older gentleman. I excused myself to man for being so forward, and I asked him if he by chance if he was "Archie Campbell" of the T.V. seris "Hee-Haw," and he replied yes I am, the one and only. I asked him if he would join us at our table, and he said that he would,  as he wanted a early breakfast and some coffee.  After sitting down, Patch and I both introduced ourselves to Mr. Campbell. for the next hour or so we listen to the Archie tell us some of his famous one liners and jokes, some of them not made for television and very colorful.  Patch asked Archie if it was possible for hor him to come ride around with him the next day, Archie agreed and rode around with Patch for most of the midnight shift the foillowing day.  I guess what I am trying to say about Patch, was it really did not matter to Patch that Archie was a television star, he just offered to show Archie around town during the day to be friendly, which Patch did, he drove  Archie all over, and they both just loved it. Archie just loved that Patch took his own time to show him around and show Archie the real side of Police work, not the television side. Archie bought us dinner a few days later before he left town and expressed his gratitude to both of us, but especially to Patch, he explained to Patch that he had learned a lot from Patch, more than he could explain. Archie had been truly touched by Patch's kindness,  it was easy to see that they had formed a frienship in the brief time Archie had spent with Patch.  It is easy to see why, it was Patch's  personality, he was a genuine 100% caring person, he just so happen to wear a police uniform.   For the second time I will say this, look in the dictionary under "public servant" and you will find Patch's picture, he truly took the slogan to "PROTECT & SERVE" to a new level.  As I had previously mentioned, Patch was, a great father and husband.  Patch had married his sweeheart, Odilia (Odie), they were married for 36 years.  During which time Odie and Patch had 3 girls, IIiana, Vanessa and Rebecca, Patch was also blessed with 2 grandkids, the high light of his life and the gleaming in his eyes were placed there by his family.   He once mentio that he was so happy to have been able to see    is grandchildren born. According to Patch he had achieved it all.  " I have a wonderful wife, 3 wonderful daughters and 2 precious grand children. I can now see what Patch was talking about. I spent some time with the Cortez family and you could see the love in thir eyes, you could also see the sadness because Patch is gone for the moment.   Patch maybe gone, but certainly not forgotten, Just by the send off whcih was provided by his fellow Officers, what a grand vision, officers walking next to the hearse, the color guard, the honor guard and the 21 gun salute. All of this was merely to say,  Thank you " Eleazar Cortez" for a job well done. We appreciated all you did for everyone you touched; no words can repay you for what you did, not only for the citizens of Harlingen, but for everyone you came in contact with. The legacy you leave behind, a wonderful family, wife, daughters and friends will be rememberd for a life time my friend, so you can now rest in peace now knowing that you accomplished your goal. We will all see you soon my good friend,  at God's pearly gates,  you can rest easy now, we have your back Patch.

Until next time my firends, I will see you at the cross roads, God Bless and God Bless America.


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