Chief Deputy honored, Red Cross Champion for loyalty to dying man - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/6/10

Chief Deputy honored as Red Cross Champion for loyalty to dying man

By Christie Post | email

This is the second in a series of special reports to honor local nominees as Red Cross Champions.

POST, TX (KCBD) - "I'm glad I was there," says Garza County Chief Deputy Sheriff Tommy Binford.  "And God chose to use me in whatever fashion for the moment.

Binford says it was his destiny to care for a longtime friend, Leon Mendez, in a way no one else would.

"There would be mornings I would go by there every morning for the entire work week. Then sometimes in the afternoon when I was about to arrive home."He stopped by Mendez's house daily when he became bed ridden.  Binford says he often does community policing but this was different

Binford would carry Leon to watch TV, or simply and stay and have conversations with Leon,  giving him a reason to live; something so little that meant so much. "Sometimes there was no conversation just sit there holding hands and that meant the world to my dad," says Sylvia Mendez, Leon's daughter.  "My dad had a very special bond with him. "

"There to the end I'd ask Leon to show me how much strength he had in his grip. And boy he'd put his hand up there and you could tell and he still had that grip."

Leon's daughter and granddaughter both remember the good times.  They say Leon loved going to Ruidoso, New Mexico and Corpus Christi and say he always joked around sticking his tongue out. But when he got sick the only friend around was Binford.

"Everybody wants to know that somebody really cares what happens in their life. I was honored to get to do that for him," says Binford

"There's friends and then there's friends till the end," says Mendez.  "He was a friend till the end. He did everything in his power to help my dad, top keep my dad going."

Leon left this world October 28th 2009.  Binford kept him going and left a tremendous impact on his last days.  "He still comes around and checks on us," says Mendez.

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