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Newspaper Archive of
Hidalgo County Herald
Lordsburg, New Mexico
February 13, 2015     Hidalgo County Herald
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February 13, 2015
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1 0 HIDALGO COUNTY HERALD FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2015 Local sports legend Jessie Cole Darnell leaves behind legacy mother, from hunting, sketching, police work, underwater welding and .education. Darnell was all-district and all-state in football and an over- all extraordinary athlete. In 2006 he made a 54-yard field goal in the New Mexico Class AA foot- ball state championship game to help LHS win its first and only state title. "I know privately he liked praise but he was real shy and embarrassed about it publicly. Jessie had so many medals, tro- phies and certificates, he wis an accomplished athlete, but if you were to go look for them, you wouldn't find them in his room," Lisa Diaz said. "For a while he had a few of them out, but he would put them away. I had a stor- age outside the house and that's where all his stuff was at." Lisa mentioned that Jessie felt he would be bragging if he displayed so many trophies. He was always considerate of others, not wanting to step on any ones toes because some people didn't receive trophies. Darnell's son Jaiden, now eight years old, was born, Nov. 3, 2006, and was the light of Darnell's life. Lisa remembers a time when Darnell painted his own room in a "Finding Nemo" theme, displaying not only his fatherly love but his artistic skills as well. "Keep in mind this is his senior year, he is a 'super jock' when he knew Jaiden was com- ing along," Lisa said. "He painted his room a sea blue with nothing but the Finding Nemo characters. Jessie had big hopes and dreams for Jaiden which we all do, and I still have the papers to show Jaiden for when he is old enough." Darnell was not simply an athlete, his academics were also above par, receiving letters from Notre Dame and as a sophomore Texas Tech wanted to recruit him for baseball. Although, when Darnell realized he had a child on the way, he changed his entire Story by AMAYA WORTHEM/ NMSU, for the Herald LORDSBURG, N.M.-- At the start of the summer of 2007 the air radiated off of the Dol- phins jersey he wore. The sweat from his body caused the shirt to cling to him, but he didn't feel the heat as his mind was miles away. Crouching over the gravel between the undevel- oped field of Lordsburg N.M. he paused, and reached for the cellphone in his pocket dial- ing 911. The conversation, which was brief alerted au- thorities of his plan and where he was located. In his other hand he held one of his son's blankets. Jessie Cole Darnell passed, May 8, 2007, by a self- inflicted gunshot wound, a death that shocked the entire Lordsburg community. "He said he was at a foot- ball field," said Lordsburg Po- lice Chief John McDonald in an article posted in the Silver City Sun News. "He gave us the wrong field and we started searching other areas for him. When we found him, he had al- ready shot himself." Born Sept. 4, 1988, Darnell was born to be an athlete, a scholar and a father. As a four-year letterman in several sports and a five-year letterman in baseball he was no stranger to top of the line athleticism and academics. Raised in Animas and Lordsburg, N.M. by Billy Darnell and Lisa Diaz he grew up with his sibling Jamie Diaz, and cous- ins Michael Medina and Sabrina Medina. Darnell's sister Jamie mentioned the two were always close with everyday phone calls ending with an "I love you". The family traveled across the state to watch Darnell do what he did best; everything. "Jessie played sports since he was little. Little league, soccer, basketball and baseball," Jamie [Diaz] said. "He was always very good at every sport he played. His favorite was whatever he was playing at the time." A very humble young man with many interests, Darnell was described as shy and not one to bask in public praises. He was constantly searching for ways to improve himself on the field and off the field. "He carried a big load, his home life was not a problem, school was not a problem but he was real hard on himself and he was his worst critic," said Darnell's mother Lisa Diaz. "I filmed everything. I was there and the minute we would get home Jessie would sit down and watch that film" Darnell was an 18 year old senior at Lordsburg High School with a promising future. He had a range of interests according to his Photograph of ceramic tile mosaic from the historic Hidalgo Hotel for sale 16"x 18" printed on foam core board -- can be framed or displayed without a frame. Can be seen at the Hidalgo County Herald. $20 Call Edmund Sauced0, 575 542-9716 or / I I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for the voters in the Lordsburg Municipal School District for your continued support and votes of confidence. I promise to always work towards the best interests of the District, while always keeping the needs of our students a priority. Thank you again, life for his son, and considered going to Western New Mexico University while simply teaching around the Lordsburg area. "I can't and don't deny what happened. It is real," Lisa Diaz said "One thing many do not re- alize is suicide is real and it is forever. It does not go away. When a person makes that deci- sion it is permanent. To this day I live with 'What if I would have?'" The family constantly adorns Darnell's resting place for every holiday and many other times throughout the year. DJ Saucedo, Jamie Diaz's boyfriend, stated that it can be whenever they are shopping and see some- thing in the store, it is a way to always keep Darnell around. Saucedo has been a track and field assistant since 1999 at Lordsburg High School and took charge as head basketball coach for the Mavericks in 2009. Jamie and DJ have two chil- dren together, Raymond, 16, and Ashley, 13, both heavily involved in sports. Raymond plays basket- ball, football, and track for Lordsburg High School while Ashley plays junior high volley- ball, and has an interest in track and cheerleading. Raymond stated that his family and the com- munity inspired him to play sports. "I knew Jessie pretty well, and what I remember most about him is that no matter what he was doing when I would ask him to do something he would put down whatever he was doing and do it for me," said Raymond Saucedo. "As an athlete he taught me to win no matter what it takes." With the Darnell-Diaz fam- ily and community continuing to heal they set out to make sure that nothing like this would ever hap- pen again. Not in their family nor their community. With the help of 20 to 30 close friends and around 15 monetary sponsors, Saucedo and the group have dedi- cated a memorial in Darnell's name and play a basketball tour- nament in his remembrance. "Jessie passed in May, so every Memorial Day weekend we hold a 3-on-3 basketball tourna- ment in his memory," Jamie Diaz said. "All money raised is given out in scholarships to graduating athletes. We have given out $15,000 in scholarships so far. It's one of the biggest events in Lordsburg. We get teams from all over and play lots of basketball in one weekend. Not only is it a scholarship fundraiser .but a chance to bring kids and the com- munity together." According to Jamie, the tour- nament has consistently been growing every year. In its first year there were 30 teams and last year there was a total of 80 teams. Jamie stated that the tournament is constantly getting bigger and bigger and will continue to do so. The tournament brings teams from Silver City, Deming, Las Cruces, Arizona and Texas with teams starting at the age of five years old. Coach Saucedo states that he constantly lets the players of his high school team know that he loves them and that he is always here for them outside coaching and the gym. Coach Saucedo also stated "We teach the players to call someone if something is wrong. There's always someone out there for them. Even the smallest of problems." "Jessie obviously was very good at hiding his prob- lems, he kept everything in- side, because he would have been the last person on Earth that we thought that would happen with," Jamie Diaz said. "From the outside he was happy and always willing to help, he was always friendly, nobody ever saw it coming, nobody." The Jessie Darnell 3-on- 3 Basketball Tourney is held over Memorial Day Weekend at the Lordsburg High School Gym in Lordsburg, N.M. The registra- tion fee is $50 per team and money is not due until the day of the tournament. Roster and team names are due by the 15 'h of May. For more contact information on the annual tournament follow the event on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Jamie Diaz and DJ Saucedo are the contacts with the information provided below. @jd3ono (Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter) Phone: (575) 519-0474 Email: jd3on3 Facebook Page Name: Jessie Darnell 3on3 Basketball Tourney d 22nd Annual Bootheel Museum Benefit indraiser Saturday, February 5:00 PM 14 Lordsburg Hidalgo County Museum 708 East 2nd Street* Lordsburg, NM FEATURING: Billy Chadborn--Composer/Singer Rusty Tolley--Poet Doe Jordan--Poet/Musician Bill Cavaliere--Poet Ken Moo re--Co m pose r / Sin ger Mike Dunn--Poet The Outriders--Western Music Steve HilI--MC 1St S?,sion"5:00-6:30 PH Free Hambu ge s & Soft Drinks at Interm.s.n 00oj:jJ, 2nd Session 7:00-8:30 PM 0000J:JJ Donations $12 Adult $8 Student (Includes both sessions) Tickets available at Verla's Western Wear--980 E. Motel Drive Gold Hill Outpost--1000 Birchfield Or available at the door day of the event For more information: 559-38 I- 1465 hookjune@hotmail, com Hidalgo USEUM Open Mon-Fri 1:00-5:00 PM