A young boy who lost both of his parents in last year’s shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, celebrated his first birthday in style this weekend as his supportive community rallied around him with a parade.
Paul Gilbert Anchondo donned a crown bearing his name and a regal outfit complete with a cape as he waved to passersby who’d come out to honor him on Saturday, ABC/CW affiliate KVIA reported.
“We want him to remember that everybody here in the El Paso area and our community is supporting him, that he’s not by himself,” grandfather Gilbert Anchondo told the outlet.
Paul was just two months old when his parents, Jordan and Andre Anchondo, were among 23 people killed in the Aug. 3, 2019 shooting.
Jordan shielded Paul from the gunfire, while Andre protected Jordan, her father Paul Jamrowski told the Today show.
Andre and Jordan Anchondo
For some participants in Saturday’s parade, the event was a way to pay tribute to little Paul and all that his survival in the face of terror represents.
“He’s a symbol of the goodness that came out of it because he brought everyone even more so together,” Joshua Hernandez, who participated on his motorcycle, told KVIA.
Eduardo Prieto, who also rode his motorcycle in the parade, told the outlet that he grew up with Paul’s aunt, so the event was “personal” for him.
“Unfortunately, his parents aren’t going to be here to celebrate his birthday with him, so we’re going to step up and make sure has a great one-year birthday,” he said.
In addition to Paul, Jordan left behind two young daughters, to whom Andre was a loving stepdad, the family told CNN last year.
“Not only did Jordan & Andre love each other endlessly, but the children were so loved by them as well,” a GoFundMe page for the couple said.