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Mother's death leaves lasting impact on Refugio's Trevino


Dec. 7, 2011 at 6:07 a.m.
Updated Dec. 8, 2011 at 6:08 a.m.

Refugio’s Donald Trevino wrote a tribute to his mother on the tape on his wrist before a game against Premont earlier this season. The game fell almost a year to the day after his mother died of stomach cancer. The periwinkle ribbon symbolizes stomach cancer awareness.


REFUGIO - The toughest times for Donald Trevino are before and after football games.

Trevino doesn't care which team Refugio plays or who he has to line up against. But he shudders at the thought of looking at his phone before getting on the bus.

"It's hard because my mom would always call," Trevino said. "Before I left for a game, she would call me and check up on me. After the game, she would call and check up on the score and see how I did."

The calls stopped coming in October of 2010 when Celia Nanez lost her battle with stomach cancer at the age of 40.

Nanez's passing left a void in Trevino's heart that will never be filled, but he's compensated in ways few could have foreseen.

"It helped me realize all the good things in life," Trevino said. "How it just can be gone in a split second. How you can't take anything for granted.

"It gets tough. Sometimes I would sit at home and think. But everything happens for a reason."

The sense of urgency is most obvious on the football field where Trevino, a senior defensive lineman, leads the Bobcats with 151 tackles, including 101 solo tackles, 14 tackles for loss, four sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and eight forced fumbles.

But the determination and drive to succeed is present in every phase of his life.

"Donald's had to grow up," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "I mean, he practices, and he goes straight to Burger King and he works until midnight. He goes home and he's got brothers to take care of and then he's back in school and back in football. He's been forced to turn into a man before he should have."

Watching his mother die was difficult for Trevino.

Nanez became ill with what was thought to be acid reflux before the cancer was diagnosed.

She traveled to San Antonio for chemotherapy treatments that left her weak and physically sick .

"Knowing I couldn't go really hurt me a lot," Trevino said. "The chemotherapy seemed like it destroyed her because it stopped her from doing everything she wanted to do.

"She was a strong woman, and she didn't want to go," he added. "She kept fighting throughout until it was too much for us to see our mom going through all the pain."

Trevino has three sisters and three brothers, including junior Andrew Garcia and freshman Oscar Nanez Jr., who play football.

Celia Nanez's death has drawn the family, which includes his stepfather, Oscar Nanez, closer, but not without some tense moments.

Trevino left home last summer and stayed with his older brother before returning when the school year began.

"You could say it has brought us together, but there's also been ups and downs," Trevino said. "We would get mad at each other, but at the end it always came back to where we were close to each other and loving each other."

Trevino is one of four members of the Refugio football team to lose a parent during the last two seasons.

But Herring appreciates the way he has dealt with his loss.

"He allows me to use that as a teachable moment," Herring said. "I'm always telling the kids they need to be so grateful we're sitting here talking about winning this game and winning a state championship when at the blink of an eye life can change. I'm always telling the kids you need to be thankful and and cherish every moment."

Trevino has enjoyed his senior season, but has made sure to remind his teammates more work remains to be done beginning with Friday's Class 2A, Division II semifinal game against Lexington at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio.

"It made me strive even harder to complete our goal," Trevino said. "That was the one thing I wanted to do for my mom is win state for her."

Herring knows Trevino will do everything possible to reach his goal not only in football, but during the rest of his life.

"Donald's chosen, even though he hurts, to use it in a positive way to try and make him stronger," Herring said. "He's a man, dude."

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361- 580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.



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