BY EVA TRISTÁN TORRES
Alfredo “Freddy” Alaniz, a husband, father, brother, friend and beloved security guard at Edinburg North High School, died on July 19, 2020, at the age of 54.
Born on Nov. 6, 1965, as the youngest of 10 children, his wife, Criselda, and two children, Freddy Jr. and Nicole are left to grieve his death. Freddy was taken too soon; his life was snuffed out swiftly, suddenly, and much too early.
A victim of COVID-19, Freddy, like so many others, one of the Rio Grande Valley’s darkest periods, he left behind loved ones who yearned for a last embrace, a final farewell to make sense of their loss, to acknowledge and honor his life, and to give meaning to the time that he was here.
Today, we bear witness to the extraordinary life of Freddy — a quiet, humble man whose passing shook our community and reduced so many to tears.
On the east side of the city of Edinburg, behind Albores Courts, the small frame house where Freddy lived and died stands as a testament to his life—one of family love, motherly devotion and dedicated service.
Freddy succumbed to the virus in the very house in which his mother raised the 10 children to whom she devoted her life. Deeply devoted to his mother, he chose to live by her side, until her death, even bringing his wife and children to live in his mother’s home.
He was born into a culture of caring and a life of humility and service, just like so many remember him. A graduate of the 1984 Edinburg High School Class, his classmates fondly recall his warm smile and friendly demeanor, a man “who had the purest heart.”
As far back as 2001, when he joined the Edinburg North security force, he “carried the torch of safety, security and servitude” for the students and staff of our high school. Standing proudly in his uniform, he maintained order, modeled respect and emanated kindness. Freddy had a genuine concern for all, and always found a way to “make things right,” regardless of what might have been wrong.
Just inside the entrance to Edinburg North High School is the security guard podium behind which Freddy would stand, welcoming visitors—always with a smile—and monitoring his kids, the students who roamed the hallways of his home away from home for almost 20 years.
His presence at Edinburg North, as one of his colleagues put it, “was as constant as the sun rising,” and the memory of how he “welcomed every visitor with kindness, greeted every colleague with a smile, and gently nudged every student to class” is a memory we will not forget.
The same, simple wooden podium is now adorned with flowers, wreaths and crosses that memorialize Freddy’s life, opening a small window into the world of this humble, genuine and caring man. The sudden shock of his death hit hard, and the outpouring of community love, support and grief that followed was overwhelming for his family. They had never realized how beloved he truly was.
Freddy was the “nice Security Guard,” “the one who genuinely cared,” and the one “who always had a smile on his face,” his students said. Freddy Alaniz took to heart his pledge to help, to serve and to protect the students he loved so dearly. As one of them put it, “He was my security guard,” and now, he’s “another great man protecting us from above.”
We bear witness to that. Rest in Peace, Alfredo Alaniz.
This story is part of an ongoing series entitled Bearing Witness. In the series, the Museum of South Texas History aims to document some of the Rio Grande Valley lives lost to COVID-19. For more information about the museum, visit MOSTHistory.org.