Irvin High School is often overlooked in El Paso, but they have an amazing school spirit, and that school spirit was on full display for an alum who is fighting cancer. The Mighty Irvin High School Rocket Band joined with Head Football Coach at Irvin Joe Urias, who was a superstar quarterback at Irvin in the early 1980s, to boost the spirits and wish a happy birthday to 1986 graduate Rick Ortiz who is battling cancer and recently moved back to El Paso to continue his fight here at home with his parents.

Rick Ortiz played football at Irvin with his brother Fred, who graduated a year earlier in 1985. My husband, Darren Hunt, went to school with the Ortiz brothers. The Ortiz's are a great El Paso success story. They are two of five brothers who grew up in the LBJ public housing complex near Tobin Park in northeast El Paso. The brothers are the sons of migrants from Mexico who worked in the apparel industry here in town. Fred is the lead designer with HKS Architects and recently led the design team of the new Texas Rangers ballpark, Globe Life Field, in Arlington, Texas.

Coach Urias posted this video on his Facebook page with the message, "Here is a little birthday present from your Irvin Rocket family to you my brother!" The video was put together with the help of the Irvin HS Band director, Mr. Quintanilla, and a band parent. The band members did a zoom video of the school's fight song to cheer on Rick.

Rick posted on Facebook his thanks for his birthday celebration. His family and friends gave him a car parade in addition to the video from Coach Urias. Rick said he was blown away by all the well wishes and loved every minute of his birthday. He went on to say that there was a time that it seemed he wouldn't get to Birthday #52, but he did and "now it's on to Birthday #53!"

We wish you well and pray for your recovery, Rick Ortiz!