State champion wrestler meets man who saved father’s life

Wrestler meets man who saved his father's life

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - On Thursday, dozens of Lubbock ISD students were recognized for their achievements in art, mock trial and athletics. One of those students was Lubbock High School’s Alex Pena – a student-athlete who overcame all odds back in February, winning his second straight state championship just hours after his fathered suffered a heart attack in the stands, during his state semi-final match.

On Thursday morning, Alex was not only recognized for his state title, but he also got to share the joy of that title with the man who saved his father’s life.

LISD Athletic Director Mike Meeks introduced the special guest during Thursday’s LISD board meeting saying, “This morning our hero, our angel, our blessing, our gift from God is here with us. I want you to please welcome Marine veteran and Canyon Randall wrestling parent Mr. Brandon Buckles and his wife Julie.”

An unexpected surprise for both Alex and his father, Isaiah Pena, to be able to hug the man who was there on one of the best, and worst, days of their lives.

“When I heard he was in the room I was nervous and excited. I really couldn’t wait to shake his hand and meet him in person. It’s really a Godsend, I mean really is. He’s a Godsend," Isaiah Pena said.

But Alex and Isaiah weren’t the only ones met with a surprise. Buckles was presented with a gold medal, a share of Alex’s state title.

“It was hard to hold back the tears. I was trying to play tough guy but you know it was pretty rewarding and it’s definitely gonna go on the wall,” Buckles said.

A medal that symbolizes much more than a win, serving as a reminder of just how far the love of a son, and a stranger, can go.

Looking back on that day, Alex Pena had this to say, “I had faith in God that my dad would be alright no matter what. I knew people were there for him. God was there for him. And I knew he was going to come back. And when he did come back I wanted to be there with my gold medal and let him know that we did it.”

Now, all three men are looking forward to a future full of many more wrestling matches, and hopefully some more medals too.

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