A Moment in Time

Mon, 11/16/2009 - 10:30am
Carlos Serrano

A moment. One brief moment. In just one brief moment on the morning of July 29, 2009, a driver in Scottsboro, Ala., took her eyes off the road to reach for her cell phone. It was in that same moment that she struck and fatally injured local businessman Carlos Serrano, Sr., who was riding his bicycle along the roadside.

That moment forever changed the life of Serrano’s son and Spring Hill College student Carlos Serrano, Jr.

Turning tragedy into hope, Carlos decided to pick up his father’s fallen banner and dive headlong into two projects Serrano, Sr., had been involved with before the accident.

“For about two weeks after the accident I was scared to even get on a bike,” Carlos said. “But then I realized that riding was a privilege that many people can’t enjoy, and I shouldn’t let what happened keep me from the goals and successes my father and I had planned together.”

First, Carlos jumped into promoting the 3rd annual Scottsboro Tri-Sport Athletic Association (STAA) 5K run that his father had been instrumental in starting. “Normally about 300 to 400 runners competed in the race,” he said. “This year we doubled that number to almost 700 runners.”  Carlos was also honored to discover that the STAA renamed the event the Carlos Serrano, Sr. Memorial 5K in his father’s memory.

Second and perhaps more personally daunting, Carlos began to train for the ESi Half Ironman Triathlon in Augusta, Ga., the same event his father had been training for the day of his accident. Carlos set a personal goal of seven hours to complete the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike race and 13.1-mile run. He completed the event in 6:49 while wearing his father’s watch and red “Never Quit the Game” wristband.

“It was something we had planned to do together,” he said. “He always pushed me to do my best. I did it. I beat my goal. Any time I wanted to stop, I felt him. I knew he was watching me. He was there.”

As a student at SHC, Carlos is well known across campus. Majoring in mathematics, he also is the student assistant for the sports information department where he serves as the statistician for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. He also operates the scoreboard and does the public address announcing and music at soccer and volleyball matches, while being active in several on-campus clubs and activities.

Appropriately, Carlos is organizing a foundation in his father’s memory to promote bicycle safety. “My father was a teacher. He led by example and inspired others,” Carlos said. “In the STAA, he took a small group of runners from nothing to being a huge organization. He taught me to appreciate the small things when you ride a bike, things you don’t normally see or think about while driving. Those are the kind of things he taught me that I didn’t really understand until after the accident.”

Carlos has also learned appreciated the bigger picture in life. “I’ve learned a lot about myself in these past few months. Being at Spring Hill has also helped. I’ve learned a lot about my relationship with my faith and that God does have a plan for it all.”