CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hilario Lopez is a senior at Ingleside High School and graduates May 26. Although he’ll be walking the stage alone, he’ll have an angel by his side.
His father, Hilario Lopez Senior, graduated from Ingleside High School in 2002.
He passed away fighting in Iraq as a Marine in 2004. At the time, Hilario's mother was just four months pregnant. Hilario Junior never met his dad but was named in honor of him.
He said he feels his presence every day.
"Just when I walk around, I just know that I’m protected. I have a little angel over me. I think he’d be proud. He’d be very proud of me for what I've done," Lopez said.
Ingleside High School built a memorial in front of the school to remember Hilario Senior's life. However, there were other ways that he was honored, especially around this time of year.
Hilario used his father’s high school graduation gown for his senior pictures. He also carries his legacy with him as a tattoo on his arm that symbolizes how he left this life and how he entered his next.
The family keeps the Marines legacy alive by sharing pictures, stories, and memories with others.
Hilario has grown to know his father through the eyes of those who knew him best.
"He was a good man. He loved to build things, take them apart, put them together again. He loved all kinds of stuff," Lopez said.
Similar to his father, Hilario is fascinated by how things work and how they are built.
He plans to attend Texas A&M University - Kingsville in the fall and major in civil engineering, but he won’t be starting the next chapter of his life alone.
"He’s always watching over me," Hilario said. "I feel like he’s helped me through a lot of tough times I’ve had. I know that I make some people proud too, so it just makes me happy that I can do that and prove to people that you can do whatever."
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