In search of hope along the U.S.-Mexico border

A family mourns the loss of a husband, father, son

Published: Saturday, Oct. 6 2012 12:00 p.m. MDT

For the Ivie family, the answer might lie in Nick Ivie's life of service. It doesn't matter what anyone labels the situation. He loved his country and served it proudly. But it didn't matter what side of the fence people lived on.

His Mormon mission to Mexico City taught him to love Mexican people, family members said. They recounted how as a border patrol agent he once carried a pregnant border crosser wearing rags on her feet a mile and a half to medical care.

Irene Rojas watched the border wall go up a few hundreds yards from her house in Douglas.

"We have border patrol going around here like crazy, so they're there. They're there for us," she said.

Retired corrections officer and one of the self-described Bisbee "dropouts" George Coppedge says that bothers some people: "I think this whole border protection might be overkill. I see a lot of wasted money," he said standing in front of the expanded and newly dedicated Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station in Bisbee. Terry died in a shootout along the border in 2010.

Orozco says increased enforcement isn't going to work. If it wasn't so politicized, she said, people could look at the real range of the problem and put up the resources to address it.

Opportunities for young people in Douglas are scarce. The Border Patrol, the state prison on the outskirts of town and the local school district are the largest employers.

Pedro Miranda, 24, contemplated his future while eating tacos at the fiesta with his girlfriend and her mother. He earned a certificate in automotive repair but doesn't want to be a mechanic his entire life. He's thinking about applying to the Border Patrol. But Ivie's death weighs on his mind.

"What worries me is being out in the desert," he said.

What worries Father Gilbert Malu is young men being in the desert for the wrong reasons, caught up in a vicious business that tears them from their families or leaves them for dead.

And when that happens, the fallout often lands on his doorstep.

"It is tough," Malu said. "There are so many families that struggle."

All he can do, he says, is turn them toward Christ.

He helps them see "the difference God makes in our life." He urges them to keep fighting for good. He prays with them, and he asks God to soften the hearts of the abductors and lead bad men "to come to their senses."

That sense of hope Malu tries to instill in his parishioners will be evident this week in the lives of another family dealing with the tragic intersection of these real-life issues.

Ivie's brothers talked about relying on a Heavenly Father to get their family through the fallen agent's death, and will do so again at his funerals in Arizona on Monday and in Utah on Thursday. Their Mormon faith teaches them that Nick and Christy Ivie and their two daughters will be together again. It teaches them to hope for a brighter day.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com Twitter: dennisromboy

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