Tampa Bay Parkies lost an MVP during Memorial Week. Gerard Herrero went out swinging, 10-plus years after diagnosis.
Gerard and spouse Valerie have brought enormous energy and activism to the North Tampa Support Group. Their signature is spot-on learning programs and a very special, group camaraderie.
Gerard’s memorial service is Friday June 16 at 2:00 p.m. Place is St. Timothy Catholic Church, 17512 Lakeshore Rd., Lutz, FL 33558.
I am honored to speak at the service. My words will be these:
I speak about Gerard Herrero, my steadfast friend, fellow mischief-maker, lover of Valerie, and a man who never, ever gave up or gave in to his Parkinson’s.
Diminutive, yes, but Gerard filled a room with his great wit and imposing intelligence. He missed nothing. His distinctive and twinkling eyes darted and danced.
He unerringly dissected the bull shitters, the self-serving and the pretentious. His cause was the welfare of fellow Parkies.
We both loved a bumper sticker meant for dog lovers. It says “Obedience School Dropout.” Gerard WAS a dropout from the “False Obedience School.
If I ever needed a forensic accountant to smoke out wrong doers, I would call Gerard in an instant. He would shred the bastards. And he would do it with modesty.
I divide our Parkie world into two quite distinct camps. The ones I call horizontals get their diagnosis and retire to the sofa and meekly submit to Parkinson’s. They let the Beast take them down system by system.
The verticals stand up, get moving and are determined to counter every nasty punch. They are the counter punchers, the verticals.
Gerard was a counter puncher, a steadfast vertical. He never, ever gave up or gave in.
I intend to dedicate the Parkinson’s book I am writing with my wife Struby to Gerard’s memory.
I love you pal. We’ll get together later in another place and have a very merry time together.