The Monument Guardian: Protecting the Memory of Selena - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

The Monument Guardian: Protecting the Memory of Selena

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CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) -

Selena is a legend here in Corpus Christi and around the world, but there is one man that lives here who is still standing at her side.

It's hard to believe all that this incredibly devoted fan does everyday, but he really is the guardian of her memory.

Every other night, ordinary nights on the Corpus Christi Bay, with the sun setting and the tourists walking down Shoreline, Army Veteran Mario Gomez gets started.
 
"Every other day," Gomez said. "I try to come out here as much as I can."

As soon as the sun starts setting, Gomez goes to the Selena statue.

"Every now and then their are people who come out here and disrespect the statue, and I run them off," Gomez said. "Drunks, pan handlers, transients; I have to ask them to leave."
 
Gomez has done this for years. He started back when the statue was first erected. After noticing that it needed some upkeep, he took matters into his own hands.

"I contacted the City Parks and Recreation," Gomez said. "I was getting a lot of run around about cleaning this up. I took it upon myself, and I cleaned it up myself."

He not only keeps the area clean and paints it when necessary, but he is also somewhat of an unofficial tour guide for Selena, snapping pictures for fans, giving out directions to her museum and grave.

"They are always coming out here asking directions," Gomez said. "If I wasn't here, I feel bad for them."

Gomez said people from all over the world are always stopping by to learn a little more about the queen of Tejano music.

"People come from Russia, Italy, England; you name it, they've been here," Gomez said. "It's nice to meet people from all over."

On some nights, Gomez sits back in his truck, plays her music, and watches how fans remember Selena.

"I have seen it all," he said. "I have seen grownups out here crying, paying their respect. It's nice to talk to them."

Gomez even shares some of his own memories with the tourists that visit; but why so much interest in Selena?

Gomez was actually Selena's neighbor.

"They lived down the street," Gomez said. "I always respect her privacy, and I would go to a lot of the concerts. I would run into her everywhere. She was the sweetest person you ever meet."

He even took part in the Selena movie, as one of the guards in the concert scene.

"I was the security at the El Paso concert," Gomez said.

Ultimately, he just wants to keep her memory alive in everyone that comes by.

"This is my way of showing respect to her family and her fans," Gomez said. "I just do it out of the kindness of my heart, without any expectations."

Gomez said he will continue going to the statue and maintaining her memory for as long as he can.

"She was so down to earth," Gomez said. "She would take time to talk to her fans, sign autographs, takes pictures. Unfortunately, I never got to take a picture with her."