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Attorney Eduardo Roberto Rodriguez never fully understood the impact of his older brother Amador's life until his funeral, which drew friends and colleagues from far beyond the Brownsville community. "We had people come from all over the state. It wasn't until then that we realized the impact he had in his field," says Eduardo. "I think if you talk to any probation officer today in the State of Texas, even several years after he died, you will have people say he was one of the best." Amador Rodriguez was head of the Cameron County Juvenile Probation Department for many years, and a president of both the Texas Probation Association and Juvenile Justice Association, which he helped to create. His thoughtful leadership, his push for professionalism, and his advocacy for juvenile probation services at the state level led to many awards and honors.

As an active supporter of The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) and a founding member of its development board, Eduardo felt a scholarship endowment was a fitting way to honor his brother's goals and achievements. In their different ways, the two brothers shared a passion for helping young people improve their lives. "I'm very education oriented; I recognize a need for scholarships," says Eduardo. "It's a way to help deserving young people in our community get their education."

Amador R. Rodriguez

The Amador R. Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship, begun in 2001 with $10,000 and matched by the Houston Endowment, continues to help young people succeed in life. The scholarship is invested in the Long Term Fund. As of August 31, 2005, the market value of the fund is $25,500. The fund already has begun granting scholarships to upper level students interested in criminal justice.

When Alicia Alamia Rodriguez, the mother of Eduardo and Amador, passed away last February, the endowment became a true family affair. Eduardo said he hopes his extended family will continue the tradition of requesting donations to the scholarship fund in lieu of other remembrances. "A lot of us would prefer to give something of lasting benefit instead of sending flowers," says Eduardo. "It's still a way of saying 'I'm thinking of you.'"

Nancy Rodriguez

Meanwhile, the fund has already made a difference for at least one UTB/TSC student faced with putting her dreams aside for lack of tuition money. For Nancy Rodriguez (no relation), the scholarship helped her complete a degree in sociology and criminal justice after an absence complicated by family issues and motherhood. Nancy said the scholarship she received helped with all the expenses of a college degree, beyond just tuition and books. "It was a big help," said the 34-year-old mother of two. Recently, Nancy was thrilled to be interviewed for a job as a counselor at, of all places, the Amador R. Rodriguez Juvenile Boot Camp. "That's like my dream job right there," she said. "But if I don't get that job, I want to keep looking for some type of counseling position. I want to let kids know there is another way, and that they don't have to resort to crime and hanging out with the wrong people to get what they want in life."