'Hometown Hero' taking flight
Today marks a significant moment in the life of Clovis resident Ronnie Marez, a meter reader for Farmers’ Electric Cooperative.
As the local “Hometown Hero,” Marez will fly in the plane of one of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, who chose him for the honor after he was nominated by coworker Thom Moore, who is the director of member services for the cooperative.
The Thunderbirds are performing in this weekend’s open house and air show at Cannon Air Force Base.
Marez said he knew Moore nominated him for the honor but he never dreamed he’d be chosen.
“He asked me, ‘how would you like to fly in one of those?’ and I said, ‘That would be pretty scary,’ and he said, ‘Well, I nominated you,” and I said, ‘Oh Lord,’” Marez said, laughing.
What’s so special about Marez?
His heroic actions in January of this year have made him a hero in the eyes of his peers, and apparently, in the eyes of the Thunderbirds.
Marez rescued a 92-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s Disease from 30-degree weather when he found her lying on the side of U.S. 60/84 near Fort Sumner in the early hours of the morning.
“I’m sure other people had passed her by and just hadn’t looked that way but he did and he had the foresight to stop and to investigate,” Moore said of the situation. “Even if it was a homeless person, he didn’t care; he wanted to render aide.”
Moore said he has received phone calls from people many times about Marez stopping to help out with a flat tire or for some other reason.
Marez said he never hesitates to help those in need but he does not consider himself a hero for it.
“I work with heroes all day long,” Marez said. “My linemen are my heroes, going out in the middle of storms and everything to keep everyone’s lights on.”
Marez said he just likes helping people and he likes to think that other people would have done the same thing as him in the situation.
But Moore said he’s not so sure.
“Ronnie is the type of person to help, regardless of the situation, and not everyone is like that,” Moore said. “This is not the first time he’s had a commendation from somebody needing help. There’s only a handful of employees I can claim have had those commendations from members or in some cases, just people passing through the highway.”
Moore said Touchstone Energy, which FEC is a member with, also honored Marez for the rescue by giving him their Power and Hope Hero Award, which he also nominated Marez for.
“I just wanted people to know we have a hero amongst our ranks,” Moore said.
Marez said the best experience for him out of the situation was the elderly woman’s son-in-law asking to meet him weeks later so he could shake his hand and thank him, as well as receiving an FEC vest.
“That was good enough for me,” he said.
Marez said he’s nervous and excited about the Thunderbirds experience and about flying g-forces.