SAN ANTONIO — We all have that one family member who gives advice - not because you asked, but because they care. In the Noriega family, Roger Noriega was one of those people.
"Stay in school, don't party too much, don't worry about boys," recalled his niece, Christina Noriega. "He loved family. Family first."
This weekend, about 70 of Roger's loved ones from Houston, Dallas, and Mexico gathered in San Antonio to stand by his side. Noriega's body was badly burned in an explosion at Alamo Junction Rail Park Friday afternoon. He was flown to Brook Army Medical Center, where he spent days on life support.
"He coded at the scene when it happened. 60 to 80 percent of his body burned," said Christina Noriega. "We knew what the outcome was going to be, so we wanted everyone to come and say goodbye."
Roger was pulled off life support around midnight Monday. He leaves behind his wife and ten-year-old son.
"We call him Little Roger, Baby Roger," Christina said. "They were best friends."
A benefit to raise money for Roger's family will take place Saturday, May 18 from 1-6 p.m. at next Day Custom Tees, located at 3919 S. Presa Street. The family says the goal is to start a bank account or trust for Little Roger.
As the family prepares a service to honor Roger Sr., they try their best to care for his legacy.
"Little Roger is the main importance right now. They don't want him to get stuck in a dangerous job," Christina said.
In order to ensure Little Roger can stay in school, his tias have created a GoFundMe account. Money raised will go toward continuing his education at St. James the Apostle Catholic School.
Donations can be made here: https://www.gofundme.com/roger-noriega