Friends remember Valley paramedic who died of COVID-19 as 'a true public servant'
Friends remember paramedic Alex Cardenas, who died after catching COVID-19, as the epitome of a public servant.
Cardenas became a paramedic after 20 years in the U.S. Army, where he served as a special forces medic. He worked in the Rio Grande Valley for more than 15 years.
"There are just certain people in our business that kind of become legends," said his friend Mack Gilbert of Med-Care EMS. "And he was one of those."
According to friends, Cardenas was working in San Antonio when he caught COVID-19.
"We know he got it while he was working," said his friend Daniel Ramirez. "It's sad. He got sick, went to the hospital, got admitted and passed away two weeks later."
Ramirez said one of his favorite memories of Cardenas involved former President Bill Clinton.
When the president visited the Valley, the U.S. Secret Service asked for paramedics to become part of the motorcade.
"So I had submitted the names, including Alex, knowing that he had that good background," Ramirez said. "And by the time I got to the parking lot, the agent in charge called me and said 'Hey, who is this Alex Cardenas guy? He has a higher security clearance than I do.'"
Ramirez said that Cardenas didn't draw attention to his military service.
"He downplayed it a lot. He's like 'No, no, they wouldn't say that,'" Ramirez said. "But after a while, you know, it became a legend."
Gilbert said that Cardenas, who worked in the Valley for more than 15 years, was an excellent paramedic.
"He had a great, caring nature about him," Gilbert said. "If you saw him with patients, he's the guy you'd want to take care of your family."
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