EL CENTRO, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents gathered for the 7th Annual Robert Rosa’s Memorial Relay Run.
Border Patrol agent Frank Santos has not fully recovered from injuries sustained in the line of duty.
“I’m not. I’m always in a lot of pain, but that’s just something that I deal with,” Santos said.
But that pain didn’t keep him from joining the 56-mile run to honor a fallen brother Saturday – an annual tradition for the Border Patrol in southern California that he began.
“As of 2010, I’ve been doing it ever since,” Santos said.
It started Thursday at 6 p.m. in Campo near the international border where Rosa’s was killed. It ended Friday morning at Rosa’s grave site in Evergreen Cemetery in El Centro.
“I myself have been through a very traumatic experience dealing with the criminal element,” Santos said.
He said this run brings healing and unity to the Border Patrol family.
“Robert in his absence continues to unify us. The brothers and sisters in green, we come together every year. Same day, same time we started. We all work together. All different shapes. All different sizes. A brotherhood of law enforcement officers and agents coming together to end what starts as our mission,” Santos said.
Agent Rushwan Jawherdizaye said the run is a physical challenge, “It was pretty punishing.”
But it’s a tradition he’s ready to be a part of.
“Really need to impress upon the younger agents that we are a family,” Jawherdizaye said.
Santos said Rosa’s will always be remembered.
Today, Rosas’ children received a Border Patrol flag in honor of their father.
“I will do it as long as Rosalie will have us do it, as long as she allows me to do this and give back to the family – absolutely,” Santos said.
Border Patrol agents and family said today’s relay run does not end here, but continues in their hearts where the memory of agent Robert W. Rosas continues to live on.