Saturday, September 19, 2009

Border Patrol Stories We Never Hear

by Ron Spangler

It seems everyone has a theory on what it is like being a U S Border Patrol Agent. Some people erroneously think the Agents are there to simply harass American citizens at check points along our southern interstates. Some think they are there just to harass poor illegal immigrants that are simply trying to enter the U S in order to provide a better life for their families. Both scenarios are wrong. Their mission like all law enforcement missions is complex.

Their real mission is to stop terrorist wishing to cross into America, stop drugs and illegal contraband like weapons from entering or leaving America, stop illegal entry across the border from any country, and assist anyone in need of medical services legal or not.

One story you will never hear or see on the national news gives just a glimmer of what Border Patrol Agents see on a daily basis.

The Yuma Sector in Arizona covers a very large area of our southern border. Part of the responsibility of this sector is setting up a check point manned by agents from the Wellton area. The temperature during the August-September period ranges between 110-130 degrees. It is a hot dangerous and desolate environment to travel and work in.

It was on a day like this that an elderly gentleman traveling east in a pickup truck pulling a homemade trailer passed through the check point. After answering the standard questions of the agent the gentleman proceeded on his way. A few minutes later the agent spotted an individual walking down the middle of the interstate coming from the east heading west toward the check point. The agent informed the other agents and proceeded to walk down the interstate to find out why the gentleman was walking down the middle of the interstate.

After approaching the individual it was obvious the man was distressed and was unsure of his surroundings. The agent escorted him off the interstate and during the questioning found out the man was worried about his wife. The agent escorted the man back to the check point and after getting him under some shade and giving him the agent's personal water supply, the agent discovered the man's wife may be in trouble herself.

The man explained his wife was following him from California in a van that the couple had been having trouble with ever since they started their trip. In an extremely agitated way, the man described how the vehicle was acting and drawing on his own personal experience the young agent told him what could be the problem. By talking to the man and explaining while the agents could not work on his vehicle he could send someone back down the road looking for his wife. Being the junior agent on the scene he knew he could not 'order' any agent that was present to go look for the woman. However he knew the agents very well.

After a few minutes a senior agent came over and the junior agent explained the situation. The junior agent told the senior agent that he would go look for the woman. The senior agent said since the junior agent had been able to gain the confidence of the gentleman it would be best if he went to look for the lady and let the junior agent continue to provide assistance to the elderly man.

While the senior agent was looking for the wife the junior agent continued his conversation with the husband. During this time he found out the wife was a recently released cancer patient from a California hospital and was still on medication. The junior agent radioed this information to the senior agent in case they needed to intensify the search or may need medical help. Hearing this the senior agent intensified his search and found the wife slowly traveling along the shoulder of the interstate. The agent approached the wife and after finding her extremely distraught and scared, tried to calm her down. He explained everything that was going on and told her they were there to help her and her husband.

The agent followed the wife to the check point keeping the other traffic away from their vehicles. After making it to the check point where the two were reunited the agents proceeded to supply water and comfort for the couple until both were calm and able to proceed on their way. With help from the Wellton agents the couple were able to proceed to the next town where they received assistance for their crippled vehicle and eventually made it home.

Nothing was written about this incident, it was never reported. During the daily routine of Border Patrol Agents things like this are a common occurrence. The couple involved were extremely grateful to the agents for everything they did and will hopefully have a whole knew attitude toward the U S Border Patrol.

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