News : The security guard who has donated € 1,000 to ELA
Pedro Prieto has decided to use the money they had to organize the race of his town (Villarejo de Salvanés), instead of to buy things, to corner that murderous disease a little more.
One day this August, Pedro Prieto wrote to me from Villarejo de Salvanés: I didn’t know who he was.
Today, however, I am writing about him: a man who is a security guard in a Swedish multinational, located in Arganda, where this weekend he will work at night, from 6.30 p.m. to 6.30 a.m., 12-hour shifts, always at night.
-And how is the night? I ask him.
“At night there is a lot of time to think,” he answers.
He, in fact, is from a town in Valladolid that does not reach 1,000 inhabitants: Fresno El Viejo.
As a kid, I followed handball and basketball. Above all, to that Valladolid Philatelic Forum in which Sabonis came to play, Oscar Smitd Becerra, Homicius, even Quino Salvo.
“I had never run until I got to Madrid and started preparing the tests for a security guard in the Santander park. I had to run a kilometer below 4’30 to get the qualification of fit, “he recalls today.
Today, Pedro Prieto is a 43-year-old guy who lives in Villarejo de Salvanés where he went to live with his wife 18 years ago: the same years as his son. “Housing prices in Madrid were prohibitive.”
In Villarejo he found his place.
He also began to participate in races and to write the chronicles of those races in a magazine founded by Justo Pérez París, a historical character of the town who has more than 30 years suffering from ALS: surviving.
And Pedro was always impressed by the story of that man.
And every time he meets one of his two children he remembers it.
“What courage,” he says to himself.
And then it occurred to him that this year they could do something different in the town race, Villarejo de Salvanés, which is held every year in mid-September.
-What are we going to do? he asked at the athletics club. Why don’t we make it virtual?
-Good idea – replied President Juan Antonio Ramón, that man who has earned the title of coach and who teaches the town’s kids to run for free: values.
Pedro Prieto added:
-We have 1,000 euros to organize the race.
-It’s true: we have € 1,000
-I thought that being virtual, since we are not going to spend anything, we could donate that money to the fight against ELA.
Not a single detractor appeared in the entire town.
Juan Antonio Ramón, the president, also remembered that this year he had taken the coaching course together with Vicente Capitán and that Vicente has a brother who has been fighting against ELA for six years:
José Luis Captain.
–It has happened to him but it can happen to anyone.
Villarejo de Salvanes, the town of the imposing castle, crossed by the Tagus River, then chose José Luis to lead its poster, to explain the message with which they convince us that in front of the ELA we are all one.
They didn’t ask for anything (the 500 registrations were free). They were only looking for diffusion to continue cornering the disease, that cursed and murderous disease.
I was one to whom Pedro Prieto wrote.
“I thought if you could give us a hand,” he said.
The idea seemed wonderful to me and that is why today I am telling it.
I have to count then that the registrations were sold out in three or four days. I have to say that Pedro Prieto, working non-profit 5 or 6 hours a day, has lived one of the most enriching experiences of his life. And I also have to give the floor to him because it seems to me that this has been very worthwhile and that the idea, instead of pity, provokes admiration.
“I did not know that COVID was going to offer us this opportunity,” he says.
“We have never worked like this year,” he adds, “but it has been one of the best ways to invest the time I have found in my life.”
Pedro declares himself very susceptible to diseases since he remembers the death of an aunt of his from cancer.
-My cousins were very young.
On Sunday, starting at 10.30 when the virtual race begins throughout Spain, the town will be silent, waking up without a speaker, no fences separating the road from the sidewalks and no finish line.
It will not be like other years.
Pedro does not know what he will feel, but it is possible that he will get excited alone “when thinking about the response of the people”.
-It has been impressive people calling, wanting to make donations, telling us: what a good idea you have had.
Justo Pérez Paris will be told about the race by his children. Who knows if a tear will fall.
José Luis Capitán, who keeps his vocal cords in perfect condition, will already chronicle the race.
It is possible that he will give thanks again and say that for things like this the world is even more worthwhile.
The next day Juan Antonio Ramón will not only tell the kids again, ‘move your arms’, ‘lift your leg, knee’, etc, etc. He will also tell them that there was a different morning in Villarejo de Salvanés: silent, almost mysterious, Sunday, September 20.
And Pedro Prieto will go back to work at night. And he will remember again that, in the year he least expected from the race, it was the year in which the race gave him the most.
And the rest… The rest of us have checked once again that sometimes the best things are those that they do for non-profit purposes, without thinking about what I’m going to get out of this.
They can even be born, at night, in the silences of those nights that sometimes scare us so much and even in a security guard post that, at first glance, seems such an unliterary place.
But you see what life is.