Hundreds remember Gallegos at viewing

Published On: Oct 22 2012 01:40:16 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 22 2012 01:40:45 AM CDT
Mario Gallegos 2
HOUSTON -

Hundreds of people paid their respects to Senator Mario Gallegos at his viewing and rosary Sunday.

Gallegos made history and inspired many as the first Hispanic State Senator to serve Harris County in 1995. 

However, his dedication to the area extended farther back, as Gallegos served 22 years as a Houston firefighter.

With his death from liver disease, hundreds converged on the University of Houston Cullen Performance Hall to honor Gallegos.

"We are very deeply thankful for you, his family, for sharing him with us...And of course, for all he has done for us," said Nelda Blair, University of Houston system board chair.

"Every single day he did his very best," said Gallegos' friend Harold Cook.

"We lost someone who meant a lot to the Hispanic community as well as myself," said Gallegos' cousin Joe Sanchez.

Leaders from the State described the spirit of the senator.

"[He was] kind, friendly, courteous, brave, courageous and a fighter," said Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.

"Whenever Mario fought, he fought for others," said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.  "For Mario, may you rest in peace my friend.  I will miss you.  I will miss you." 

Gallegos' funeral is scheduled for Monday at the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in downtown Houston.