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300 Mile Marathon for Love and Hope

February 4, 2013

 On January 15, 1977, UTSA police officer Alberto Rodriguez fulfilled a promise made to his physically disabled daughter, Stephanie. Rodriguez pledged that if Stephanie lived to be five years old, he would travel from San Antonio to the church of San Juan de los Lagos located outside of Harlingen. San Juan was known as a church of miracles and Rodriguez intended to give thanks for the miracle that allowed his daughter to live to her fifth birthday.[1] Rodriguez covered the 300 miles to the church of San Juan on bicycle. This first trip was just the beginning of his journey of gratitude.

Alberto Rodriguez and Stephanie, Gil Barrera photogaphs, MS 27

Alberto Rodriguez and Stephanie, Gil Barrera photographs, MS 27

Alberto Rodriguez training for his ride to the church of San Juan, Gil Barrera photographs, MS 27

Alberto Rodriguez training for his ride to the church of San Juan, Gil Barrera photographs, MS 27

Two months after completing his bicycle trip to Harlingen, Rodriguez repeated the 300 mile trek, this time on foot. Rodriguez’ efforts brought attention to the plight of those suffering from mental and physical disabilities. Rodriguez hoped that heightened awareness of Stephanie’s condition–she was born with brain damage and a heart abnormality–might bring hope to others.[2]

Alberto Rodriguez, Stephanie, and UTSA police officers, Gil Barrera photographs, MS 27

Alberto Rodriguez, Stephanie, and UTSA police officers, Gil Barrera photographs, MS 27

Alberto Rodriguez training for his 300 mile trek, Gil Barrera photographs, MS 27

Alberto Rodriguez training for his 300 mile trek, Gil Barrera photographs, MS 27

Alberto Rodriguez’ quest came to the attention of film makers and in 1981, the made-for-tv movie “300 Miles for Stephanie” starring Tony Orlando, aired on NBC.

The miracle that Alberto Rodriguez had prayed for–that Stephanie live to be five–far exceeded all he had hoped for. Stephanie passed away in 1999 at the age of 26.[3]

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[1] David Manley, “Dad Begins Journey to Fulfill Pledge,” San Antonio Light, January 15, 1977, 2A.

[2] David Manley, “Dad Begins Journey to Fulfill Pledge,” San Antonio Light, January 15, 1977, 2A.

[3] Julie Domel, “1981 movie inspired by stories in E-N,” mysantonio.com [http://blog.mysanantonio.com/vault/2011/08/1981-tv-movie-inspired-by-stories-in-e-n/], accessed January 31, 2013.

One Comment leave one →
  1. chris permalink
    January 5, 2015 2:57 pm

    I thought he was with SAPD not UTSA Police

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