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The compassion of Eddie Basha

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By Diana Bejarano

Eddie-Basha-and-Diana-April-2006I am a Latina Still Standing, but not of my own accord. I stand tall today because of my faith, family and friends – one of whom has just been laid to rest.

Nine years ago, I became friends with a man named Eddie Basha. He was godsend to me during one of the most difficult periods of my life. 

My older sister, 40 years old at the time, had a surgery and she nearly died from subsequent complications. What should have been a simple medical procedure turned into the worst nightmare for my sister; she was in a coma for several months and her prognosis wasn’t good. While she was in intensive care, I had started a new job as the communication and public affairs director for Basha’s, Inc., and had met with each of the senior leadership team, which included Basha family members and the CEO, Eddie Basha.

I told them about my sister because her situation was weighing on me so much. Eddie made special trips regularly to my office to ask how my sister was doing; we even prayed a couple times. Less than two months into the job, I was called away from planning a big conference for our store managers and directors and rushed to the hospital to sign for acute dialysis when I was told that my sister’s kidneys were failing. While I was waiting in the lobby to see if my sister was going to make it, I received a phone call from someone asking me where I was. I informed them that I was in the lobby of the hospital. I was told to stay there.

I saw a friend of my father’s walk in with a DPS officer and they asked me to sit down. They told me my father was just killed on the I-17 in Phoenix. Much of what happened after that moment is still a blur to me, but at some point I had to call my job and let them know what had happened, and that I would need to take some time off. I didn’t know what they would say, considering I had been on the job less than two months. With no hesitation, I was told to take as much time as was needed and that they were all praying for me.

While I was off, Eddie’s office informed me that he wanted to provide the food for the reception after the services for my father. I was so moved by his kindness. On the day of the services in a packed church in South Phoenix, I saw Eddie, his sons, the president of Basha’s and many of the senior leadership walk into the church to pay their respects to my father, a man they never knew. That is an example of the compassion and support that has enabled me to be a Latina Still Standing.

That is the kind of man Mr. Eddie Basha was to me and to countless other people. I am honored to have known him and to have called him my friend. I am grateful that God sent me to work for Eddie and his family during one of the toughest times in my life, and I believe God used one of His special servants to lift me up while I was down.

When I heard of the news of Eddie’s passing, my heart was heavy and I felt a tremendous loss. I am grateful to have personally experienced Eddie’s generous spirit, his witty sense of humor and his compassion for people.

Thank you for extending your hand in my time of need. Descanse en paz, EB.  

Diana Bejarano is an Arizona native and a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Reach her at latinastillstanding@yahoo.com or latinastillstanding.blogspot.com

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