YOUR STORY

My Big Brother Carlos

Vietnam Vet, Volunteer, Brother and Friend
18 January, 2019 | Terrilyn S. Alexander
  • My Big Brother Carlos
Terrilyn S. Alexander with her beloved brother Carlos

My big brother Carlos was one of the kindest, most loving, most compassionate people I know. My brother Carlos had a wonderful life growing up with his siblings, he was a veteran who served in the United States Army in Vietnam leaving with an honorable discharge in the late 1970's. He also volunteered for the Salvation Army for many years. Sometime later, he moved to Portland Oregon where he made it his permanent residence. My brother Carlos was an awesome trumpet player he also played sim-pro baseball, a passion of his until he became ill. Two years ago, he came home from Portland Oregon to visit my siblings and I in Chicago for my birthday and our annual family reunion. He was vibrant and happy and even tried to dance. Sadly, Carlos was diagnosed with diabetes some years ago and later the complications just took over.

In May 2018, he had several strokes and a blood transfusion in hopes of regaining his strength and health. His health began to decline rapidly shortly after he returned to Portland. My siblings and I wanted to bring him home because we missed him and loved him very much. He required round the clock care and it would cost $14,000 or more to bring him home to us to get the quality care he so desperately needed. It was very urgent that we try and raise the needed funds to get him home because he was so critically ill. And although he was critically ill, he managed to write on a piece of paper from his hospital bed that he wanted to come home to be with his family. We set up a GoFundMe page on his behalf but did not raise the much-needed funds in time to bring our brother home. Sadly, our beloved brother Carlos lost his battle with diabetes and passed away last summer on June. He was honored with a full military service on a very sunny and beautiful, peaceful day. Our brother’s spirit will always dwell within us.

Carlos's Friend Jenece's Words:

Hello, my name is Jenece. I had the incredible honor of being introduced to Carlos about seven years ago. A friend of his knew that I wished for a trumpet player to accompany me (I play piano), for that Christmas Eve; alas, Carlos was busy with his life and couldn't fit me in. However, I did ask him if he would help me usher in the season's Candlelight Symphony...he not only said yes but showed up dressed to the nines in a tuxedo...! It was two years later that he came back into my life and began playing his trumpet with me every Sunday morning. We played together for almost four years at the little Catholic chapel at the Domiciliary. The entire congregation admired and love him and his beautiful passion for playing his trumpet. I know everyone was so happy to see him each Sunday morning, knowing that their hearts would be lightened, brightened and the words that would be spoken would have a beautiful conduit straight into their hearts.  He also had a specific beat on the bongo drums to the song "Gloria" that NO one could match. His deep respect and reverence for God was intoxicating, it vibrated through everyone!  He always gave his "best" to God. This last year has been an extremely challenging one for Carlos, for his family and me. His diabetes spiraled out of control due to many little strokes and finally, the two took a great toll on his health. He could no longer play his precious trumpet or comet to Mass. For me this was devastating, and I miss him playing his trumpet with me. I miss seeing him in church and his deep respect and reverence for God! He became a part of my family... my little granddaughters love their uncle Carlos... I was honored to be called his sister!!! I miss him being healthy and vibrant... at his request, he returned home to his family in Chicago. - Jenece

Carlos's Ex-wife LeAnn's Words:

Carlos worked for the salvation army for about 7 years as the as-is auctioneer/utility driver. It was during this time that we dedicated ourselves to the Salvation Army Church and
became soldiers. Carlos loved to minister to the youngsters as well as provide his testimony to the men at the adult rehabilitation center. Always active in the church band, Carlos then became very active with the League of Mercy, going to retirement homes, convalescent centers, and children's wards in hospitals to play his trumpet, minister, and to make someone smile and sometimes just to hold a hand. He has worn the Salvation Army uniform with great dedication and pride, and always for doing the most good. - LeAnn

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Terrilyn S. Alexander is the author of the children's book I want to be a dolphin.


About The author

Terrilyn S. Alexander is a wife, mother, and author, who resides in Illinois with her husband, a retired fire lieutenant, a certified nutritionist, and their three youngest children. In her spare time, she also sings. She is also a substitute teacher and is currently pursuing her MA in secondary education in social science. Today, she continues to work on her manuscripts for her children’s books, she and her husband are dedicated and focused on the ultimate success of their children’s education, as well as championing the empowerment of reading for all children.


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