Moose Lodge raises funds for one of their own
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Those who stopped by the Copperas Cove Moose Lodge 2029 for the Mona Mae Lopez barbecue benefit only went hungry if they didn’t step up to the food line.
The Copperas Cove Moose Lodge sold barbecue plates for $10 apiece in an effort to raise funds for the family of Ramona Mae Lopez, daughter of lodge member Gabriel Lopez. Gabriel and his wife, Mira, lost 18-year-old “Mona Mae” on July 29 to complications from the genetic disorder Trisomy-13.
While family and friends have mourned the loss of a young woman who according to doctors was only supposed to live 90 days, the atmosphere on Saturday afternoon resembled a party, with plenty of food to include smoked brisket, sausage, pulled pork, ribs, boudin balls—both with and without crab—along with a variety of pasta salads, beans, corn bean and biscuits, and dessert
Fellow lodge members, friends, family, community members, along with coworkers of Gabriel and Mira, who both work for the Copperas Cove Independent School District, turned out in force to eat and visit, and share memories of Mona Mae.
The afternoon featured plenty of balloons and also blowing bubbles, by children and adults alike.
Mary Kay Richmond works for CCISD as a paraprofessional. Years ago, she was Mona Mae’s caregiver for about 1-1/2 years.
“She’s the same age as my son, so I started watching her during the day when they were both around two years old,” said Richmond. She learned about Mona’s special needs, with a physical therapist visiting three times per week.
“We learned sign language right along with her,” Richmond recalled. Mona Mae, who was not verbal, learned to communicate in sign language, with words such as “yes,” “no,” and “more.”
“I just can’t think of another family who deserves this like they do,” Richmond said, in talking about the fundraiser to help pay for burial expenses.
Mira still has plans to run hold the club she founded for special needs students called S.M.I.L.E., which stands for Special Memories In Life Every Day, and will start up in September.
“We just went to Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio,” Mira said, referring to the first park for special needs children. One of Mona’s loves was spending time in the water, and she was able to do just that a mere day or so before she passed away.
“It’s amazing to see the community come alongside them,” said Mira’s father, Rev. Miles Miears of Jonesboro, who also gave the eulogy for Mona’s memorial service on August 4. “They made what was abnormal, normal in their lives.”
Miears reflected that his granddaughter touched many lives and is a testimony to how one life can touch so many.
The lodge is still receiving donations for the Lopez family and the Moose Riders are scheduled to deliver the funds to the family on Saturday.