We learned this week that one of our long-time volunteers, Alec Esparza, had passed away at the end of June.
For the past year, Alec had been a faithful presence as a volunteer at our Free Legal Clinic in Southwest Detroit. He was one of the few volunteers able to continue coming in to help at the clinic during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when many other volunteers were unable to assist our clients. Alec’s belief in a legal system that works for all people, including the poor, those who do not speak English, and refugees from many countries, made him an ideal volunteer. It also helped that he was patient, kind, and unflappable. Early in the year, when large families from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria came to our Wednesday afternoon clinics seeking help with immigrant applications, Alec became a crucial part of a team of volunteers practiced at building green card applications that has helped scores of immigrants receive their permanent resident cards this year
We learned about his death when he uncharacteristically did not show up for his scheduled volunteer assignment two weeks in a row. We are deeply saddened by his death and know his friends and family are still mourning. From remembrances of his life posted online, we learned that he was a runner. As we plan to run this year’s Detroit Marathon, those of us running on the SWIRC team will dedicate our efforts to the memory of Alec in appreciation for a life too short but well lived.