Monday, May 09, 2005


By Rick and Melissa Noriega ( Afghanistan and Houston )

Today I am devastated by the loss of Joe Moreno. If I could find a stronger word, I would use it. I have lost a brother; the members of the House have lost a colleague; the people of Texas have lost a champion. Joe loved his family, his mom and dad, with all his big heart, and their loss is beyond my comprehension.

In the Bible, 2nd Samuel 23.2-4 says, “This is a requirement of God for those that ruleth over men, they must be just and God fearing.”

You must be just and you must be God-fearing. You may not be gifted with money or power, but if you are just and God-fearing, you will be what God requires. Joe was both of those. I believe that God “setteth one up”…God puts us where we are to be, and Joe was a representative of the people because he was just and God-fearing. He championed the poor. He knew when something was wrong, and he “spoke truth to power”—he was fearless in the face of that which he believed was wrong.

He was willing to speak up in the face of opposition, when he knew what was occurring was not right for Texas, for his community, for his people. He was a quiet force that all of us relied upon to help with the heavy lifting.

The email came from my wife this morning. I saw the headline on her email and I opened my messenger account to ask her to tell me it was not so. She told me she was on the floor of the House and that she was weeping, as was my friend and desk mate, John Davis. I realized that I would not return to Houston and see my buddy, my friend, again. I was in town in March, and before I left, I gave my brother Joe a hug, not knowing it was for the last time.

This loss seems like more than we can bear. It saddens me that I cannot come from where I am to say goodbye to my brother and friend. Each of you needs to go and kiss your spouse, hug your children, call your family, and be grateful that you are able to do it. Life ends in an instant, and none of us know when God will call us. Whatever you are doing with your life, Melissa and I encourage you to make it count.

For Texas ,

Rick and Melissa

KJV 2 Samuel 23:1-4

1 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said , and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel , said, 2 The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. 3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me , He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.


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