Candid Q & A with Patty Dominguez

Daughter of fallen Border Patrol Agent James Dominguez

Patty Dominguez is bright young lady that was born November 1st, 1993 in San Antonio, TX.  I met her on May 15th, 2013 as she and her family attended the Peace Officer Memorial in Washington, DC.  Patty’s family lost their father, husband, son and brother.  The Border Patrol and our country also lost one of its finest Agents in the line of duty.  A vehicle struck Agent Dominguez as he was attempting to care for and assist another motorist who had been involved in a previous accident.  I was able to spend time with Patty when she was in DC for an internship, and wanted her insights on being a survivor.  I was extremely impressed by her faith, strength, and love. I am proud to be her friend and am better for knowing her, despite the circumstance of how we met.


Patty, at dinner you mentioned some of the agents were talking about your dad today.  What was that like?  
This is what happened, this guy (a border patrol agent) came into the office and said he knew me from somewhere. He kept staring at me trying to figure out where he knew me from.  Then this light bulb went off on his head and he realized he didn’t know me, but knew and had worked with my dad!! He said I looked just like him!!!!!


In that moment what were your thoughts?
I was surprised because I’m so far away from home, Uvalde.  I thought it was cool that this guy in Border Patrol Headquarters knew who my dad was. I’m Always happy to hear from someone who knew him and worked with him. I am glad they can share a story or an impression about dad, or something they did together.


Was there something he said that really stood out?  
He Said my dad was a good man and the nicest guy he knew.  It made me sad.
I would think you would be happy to hear the good stories, where does the sadness come from?
I love my dad; the way things happened.


How did he die?  He was helping some people who were in a car accident.


Can you specify?  There are giant boulders on the road ….


Wait!  What was the situation?
It was at the end of his shift and they called it in on the radio, and DPS could not respond so my dad said he would go out there, even though he was supposed to go home.  He was on the shoulder helping clear the accident when a Ford F350 truck, hit him.


How did you find out of your dad’s accident?
My dad usually picked me up at work and that day he did not come.  I called home and his cell, and nobody was picking up the phone, so I sat and waited about 3 or 4 hours, after my shift ended, with no idea what was going on.  Then I saw some border patrol trucks pull into the parking lot, in that moment I had a bad feeling.


They took you home and what did they tell you?  They told us he died instantly.


It has to be hard to hear stories but do you feel they are healing too?
Yes! I am happy to hear the stories, but sad when I get home because I go back to the day things happened.


How old were you, when your dad passed away?  I was 18


Looking back at that moment, that week, what would you change in the way you and your family was notified about your dad?
Other people are involved when you have a family dynamic like ours, you are not just telling the wife you are telling the children.  I would prefer better delivery of the news when telling the families.


Can you explain?
The agents are great and we love them all, but as a kid this is how I felt.  The agents were there but we were all separated, each of us had one agent with us.  We were all going through our own emotions but it would have been nice to be next to each other.  It would be nice if they knew where all family members were before they told the wife.  One of my siblings was not around and I was waiting for hours.


How long has it been since your dad passed?  3 years ago this past July. It was July 19th.
Did you feel you had to step into your dad’s shoes after he was gone?
Sort of, I would see my mom and siblings struggling and I wanted to be there for them, the way he was.  Family was the most important thing to my dad, his relationship with my mom and the kids were the most important to him.  I mean, we each did our part to make sure we were a strong family unit.  At work, school or anywhere away from home we did what we had to do, but our home was our sanctuary.  It was our quality time together and we didn’t take it for granted.


What do you think your dad would want for you today? 
I know he wants me to finish college, he would want me to be happy, to not forget him, but to move on.


So when you say move on…. But not forget him, what does that mean to you?
Not letting the pain freeze your life and channeling it into good things.


If you could say one thing to your dad, what would it be? Come Back!
What can you do to honor your dad? Be a good example for what he stood for and what I stand for.
So you have been interning in DC, how did you get that gig?  Lots of Love


What are you doing?  I work in the communications branch known as the COMM SHOP.


Best thing you have done there?
So many things! I hosted ‘The Patrol’ I was the news anchorperson for a video that they produce.  The Patrol is a short synopsis of things that are happening around the Border Patrol and at headquarters.
Where do you go to college?  Brigham Young University in Idaho


Are there lots of potatoes?
(Burst of laughter)  Yes there are tons!  I think there are more potatoes than people, which is why I like it.


Do you have a boyfriend?  No


What is your dream job?  Work in film, movies or music videos


When you say film, which actor would you like to work with?  Johnny Depp


Favorite color:  Pink


Favorite movie: Meet the Robinson’s


I went to church with you and you were quickly transformed into a happy and giddy kid.  I have never seen a kid so excited, how has your faith helped you?
If it weren’t for my religion I would have no direction. My dad was also a faithful man in the church he was a very active leader in lots of the church activities, and he was always very helpful and compassionate, he would give the shirt off of his back to those in need.


Now that you have traveled from Texas to Idaho, visited the nation’s capitol, and know there is so much out there to see, where do you think you would like to live?
Near a big city, but maybe suburbs or like a little farm!
Haha, you are not new to relocation, you are definitely a BP Kid who can adjust to any situation.


My Reflection:
Patty is an amazing young lady, full of the life and dreams any 21 years old would have.  Life goes on for many of us, but for the family of a fallen agent, there is always the pain. During this interview, I saw Patty fighting through the pain to get her message across.  I am grateful for the opportunity she allowed me and feel privileged she shared her thoughts about her hero dad.

I am committed to remembering our fallen, by introducing you to their families.  Do not let the fear of what to say, keep you from reaching out to the families of our fallen agents.

Thank you, Patty, for your candid interview and for the strength you shared with me.
Nuri Vitiello
The Real Housewives of B.P. (RHWoBP)