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Phoenix-Eloy immigration march nearing last steps

PHOENIX -- An immigrant rights march known as "The Trail to end Deportation" will reach the finish line on Friday.

Members of the Puente Human Rights Movement were walking through Coolidge, Ariz. Friday afternoon as part of a 60-mile march that began on Wednesday. It started outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Phoenix and will end at a detention center in Eloy.

Puente organizer Carlos Garcia talked about why the group is walking.

"Some of the families are trying to draw attention to the separation that they're going through," he said. "They're asking for their family members to get out of detention, for ICE to release them and to stop the deportations."

Garcia said the walk has been very encouraging for him.

"The last couple of days have been tiring, but they've also been inspiring," he said. "People have been getting to know each other. We're able to tell stories. We're stopping along the way with people that are sympathetic and want to hear what's going on."

Supporters have been periodically walking with the group. Garcia said that about 30 walkers are with the group in Coolidge, but he expects that number to grow as they get closer to their destination.

The group plans to arrive in Eloy by Friday night. They will sleep in front of the Eloy Detention Center before holding a rally there at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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