大俠行天下日記 我見我聞我思 01/26/2021
我見 我思 我聞
跟我們已經二十一年的阿墨哥弟兄赫特，今天離開了我們美南大家庭，才四十二歲， 實在太年輕，在員工們的追悼聚會上，我說:“赫特之離去令我們無比悲慟，他是我們的親人和好兄弟，過去二十一年來，他忠誠地無私的貢獻了他短暫一生，美南新聞廣場的每个角落皆烙下了他的足跡，人生是多麼難予預料，我們大家都要保重。” 語畢時，我心情澈盪，想到赫特，我仍然無法制止自己的涙水......
這是二十多年前的往事了，在百利大道上的美南新聞中心大楼正在完工內裝修階段， 記得那是德州休斯敦最炎熱的夏天，我正在督導电工和木匠之安裝，大門口來了一對貎似父子的老墨，他們說是油漆工希望找份工作，來得正巧 我正需要工人完成油漆工作，经交談工錢談妥後 他們父子第二天就來上工，資深的父親帶著還未滿二十歲的兒孑赫特，在他們父子非常純熟之工藝及勤快的技能下，把整個美南新聞大樓粉刷出非常亮麗之色彩，當工程完畢之後，年紀未到二十的赫特來見我並且要求留下來繼續打工，不論什麼苦工都願意，我看了他一眼，覺得這大男孩長相老实，面帶笑容，而且英語尚可溝通，就一口答應他來上班。
休斯敦遭遇多次洪水，尤其是二〇一七年的哈威颶風，當天上午不斷之豪雨橫掃休城， 全市處於萬般焦慮狀態，我電話赫特當晚到報社查看，當時已至深夜 他到達時立即告訴我情勢不妙，印刷廠已經開始進水，工廠旁的大洩洪道水勢不停，全市停電， 一片漆黑，當時他告訴我決不可前來，恐被水冲走，他答應駐守大樓，我當時心急如焚不知如何是好，总算等到黎明到來，我繞道回到辦公室，當我踏進印刷廠時，水已煙沒整個印刷機器，大約有三英尺之深，整個工廠之白報紙筒都泡在水中，當時我真的嚇呆了，我們的家當都全泡在水𥚃了，赫特看到我的驚慌無助時，他還安慰我，李先生不要太傷心。
Our Brother Hector Rests In Peace Now
More than twenty-one years ago. Brother Hector joined our Southern News family. He was only 42 when he passed away last week. Today in the employees’ gathering I told my colleagues, “Hector was one of the most loyal employees and family members for us. Hector’s life was too short, but we will remember him as a brother and his contribution to Southern News is forever. Today we all remember Hector and his footprint will always be a part of our campus. Life is so very unpredictable. All of us need to take care of ourselves.
I remember in early 2000 when we were finishing our news building on Bellaire Blvd. in the hot summer in Houston, Hector and his dad came to our jobsite and asked for printing work. I saw this nice and friendly father and son I hired them the next days. His father was very skillful and did very professional work. When they finished the whole printing work, he brought his son Hector to see me. He wanted Hector to stay with us and continue to work here. When I talked to Hector in English, he could reply very well for a young man not even twenty years old. I could tell he wanted to work and wanted to help his family. I finally hired him to be a helper in our company.
In the summer of 2001, our new Southern News Group building was opened with the new press room and many other new facilities. We were operating 24 hours and our daily newspaper deadline ended on midnight every day. Along with printing our own newspaper, we also printed a hundred of other community weekly newspapers. In many cases our press room was always busy and sometimes in chaos. I always saw Hector standing there rolling the newspapers, sometimes working day and night. He never complained.
Two years later, our new International Trade Center building was inaugurated. With a size of almost 20,000 square feet, in the “ITC” we housed the Houston United Nations Association, Congressman Al Green’s office, the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and the Caribbean Chamber of Commerce. We have hosted hundreds of functions and festivals for more than twenty years. And Hector was the one who set up each event and did the whole job. He never complained.
In the summer of 2017, the destructive Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas. On the night that the hurricane hit, I called Hector to check the building. When he arrived, he called me and said, “Mr. Lee, it is very serious now. The water has started coming in on the printing press, the floors are flooded as well as the paper rolls.”
When I received his call I wanted to come to the company, but Hector told me, “Don’t come because it is very dangerous.” So I didn’t go until the next morning. When I walked into the press room I saw the whole printing press was flooded and the water was about three feet deep. And the newspaper rolls were wet and had fallen down to the ground. It was the first time I felt that all of our “property” was gone. I felt very helpless. Hector looked at me and said, Mr. Lee, don’t be too sad. Let’s rebuild our company. I will still be helping you as long as you want me to. Since then, we have faced the most difficult time of our whole life. We still have to face it. I have no choice but to continue to manage and to survive.
In February 2020, the coronavirus hit our nation and all over the world, including Houston. The city and county announced that citizens should stay home. The virus attacked and the city has become quiet and idle. We have let our employees work at home. Only Hector was the only one who came in every day to take care of the building. He never complained. He insisted this was his duty to do so.
One morning almost two months ago when I left the office I told Hector to fix the fence on the ground. Right after I left I received a call from Jennifer my assistant who told me that Hector had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. By the time I came back he was already gone.
Since that day Hector never woke up and just a couple of days ago he passed away and probably went to Heaven and to a better place. In his whole life Hector never stopped working. Maybe he was very tired.
In my whole business life career, I have met hundreds and thousands of people. Hector was the only one who always remained so loyal and diligent over the years. And the guy never gave up and just kept trying to fix everything that was broken.
In the compound of Southern News Group, even though you are gone Hector, but your footprint and legacy are still with our group.
We are so sad to say goodbye to you, Hector. We all hope you can relax in another happier world.