A blog by Bill Hess

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Main | Date of the promised final post moved to Super Bowl Sunday; Carrizo the cat »

Life after the injury: Jesus Sanchez and his little sister, Geminez of Barrow: football players; love and continuance

To commemorate Super Bowl Sunday, I post this picture I took in Barrow on the evening of November 20. I had originally planned to post it soon afterward, but I was working a busy schedule, and had to get on a flight to Nuiqsut the next morning. Life kept moving at a fast and pressed pace and circumstance led me to bring this blog to a close, but I promised one last post, which I originally planned to put up during the holiday bowl season. That was a crazy time, too, so I rescheduled the last post for today, Super Bowl Sunday:

This is Jesus "Jesse" Sanchez, his sister Geminez to the left and fiance Frances Wade. Jesse, a member of the Barrow Eskimo Dancers, had first come into focus in my mind and camera many years before when he did dances for his late grandfather Eddie Edwardson and also for local soldiers and veterans fighting in and coming home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The skill, beauty and honor he put into those moved me greatly - as it did the audience, who by their applause demanded encore performances.

In 2010 and 11, I did a little coverage of the Barrow Whalers football team for Uiñiq. Jesse was a freshman and sophomore then, but already a star. 

By his junior year, some college scouts checking him out, from small school up to big ones like my alma mater, BYU. By his senior year, he had some scholarship offers and was poised to do great things for the Barrow Whalers - perhaps as quarterback even lead them to the state championship.

Unfortunately, a bad shoulder and neck injury early in the season put an end to his high school football career. Injury or not, he loves the game and treasures the experience. He loved the camaraderie with his teammates, treasured the sense of loyalty he felt to them, his coaches, school and his community. And he loved to hit. The sound of helmets smacking helmets, pads and bodies was lovely to him.

The girl on the left - that's Geminez, one of his youngers sisters. Geminez loves to hit, too. In fact, she has put on the pads and is following her brother to the field. Fate removed all chance of Jesse and the Barrow Whalers winning the title they so badly want. Geminez hopes to be part of a Barrow championship football team in the future.

And the young woman to the right...?

...that's Frances Ward, his fiance. She carries his baby and they plan to soon marry. Some have told them this is going to destroy their future. Both strongly disagree. On her Facebook page, Frances wrote, "There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation... People say our life will end when we have our child, but the truth is, our life will just begin. Our baby will not take away our future, she will give us a new one."

Jesse often hunts caribou and shares them with Frances and her family. Not so long ago, he spotted a caribou when he was on foot and ran it down. He brought it home to the table.

The Sanchez parents are Mia and Jay. Jay played football in Fairbanks. Football was not a game Mia grew up with, but she loved watching her son play... and hated seeing him get hurt. She did look forward to the prospect of him playing in college... with both excitement and fear. As for the baby and the upcoming wedding, she wrote this on Facebook:

Right after she first learned: "YES it's shocking but I see this as a blessing from above BUT they are going to finish school and they have our support 100%... We love u both very much.."

Not long after that: "I'm just realizing my oldest son Jesus Estrada Sanchez has grown into a handsome young man and Frances Wade a young beautiful woman who captured his heart and a lucky woman to have won his heart... Sniff sniff. I'm going to miss going to his elementary Christmas programs, bring home his arts and crafts he makes and especially going to all of his football games it's amazing how times fly BUT he will always be a mommas boy... Son, ur going to make a wonderful father to ur child I am very proud of u I love u very much u and Frances have family and friends that will help and support u both I WILL ALWAYS LOVE U MY BABY BOY... Love always and forever ur Mom."


Now... as for me and this blog. I had written that once I got this up, it would be the final post for logbookwasilla - although someday I would find a way to reestablish myself with some kind of online picture/story telling site. I am on Instagram now (@billhess), but Instagram is insufficient for what I still want to do. On Tuesday of next week, I go into the hospital to get a surgery that should have been done over six months ago, but I couldn't do it then. The only reason I am able to get it done now is because of the Affordable Health Care Act. Had this act been in place five years ago, I would not need this surgery at all, because I would not have needed the surgery I got in June, 2012, the one that led to the complications that inflicted this burden upon me.

I have a few thoughts I want to express about all of this and it seems I can best make my point as I am going into and recovering from surgery. Instagram will not be up to what I want to do. So I may revisit this blog then. 

Reader Comments (11)

Wishing you a very fast recovery - so pleased the ACA is helping you & millions of other people.

Come back soon and tell your stories. They are delightful.

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTS

Bill, I hope your revision goes very, very well. I'm so pleased you and Margie have the security of Affordable Care.

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterViva

Bill I will be thinking of you and sending healing thoughts. I really hope you do reconsider this blog. I miss your thoughts.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterManxMamma

Sending best wishes for a very successful operation that is so long overdue! You are truly an example of why we need the ACA. {{{HUGS}}} I hope we hear good things and you will be on the way to full recovery and can get back to writing soon. So much to do, so many miles to go. ACA is a first step of your journey. Hurray!

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMrsGunka

What a beautiful story & beautiful people in that story Bill. I miss your blog!! I have been following you on Instagram though and am in love with Carrizo. What a sweet new baby you have and he has, having you & your family as a forever part of his life.

Do you have to have a "modern:" phone to be able to log in to Instagram? I haven't been able to do it on my computer & have an elderly flip phone that does nothing but allow me to make calls. If logging in can be done on the computer, will you please share the secret on how or where to do it? So many times I've wanted to comment on your great pictures, but am unable to do so.

All the best on your surgery next week. I'll be rooting for you & am confident they'll get it right this time. You've endured enough!

Love to you & the family!


February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatzKids

So nice to hear from you again-I have learned so very much from your 'Logbook"--Alaska and it's Native people ,and your grand babies,and of course your Arizona family. I wish you a fast and uneventful healing and hope to be able to follow you again!!

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnn`

Riana and I both wish you the very best, Bill. So glad they passed the ACA and it's helping millions of people. Please get well quickly. We will miss you! But pretty soon things will be better for you and you will be sharing your view of the world with us once again. Sending cyberhugs and so many good wishes.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Good luck with the knife.
I knew you couldn't keep away from the blog.
Try blogger and I only say that because it really is simple I find.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterconchscooter

I am so glad that the ACA was passed and that so many people are finally able to get the health care they have needed for so long! May your surgery be uneventful and your recovery swift and complete. Sending healing light your way. Hope to hear from you again after your surgery.

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSandi

Hi Bill! Hope you are doing OK today. Your blog has definitely been missed. I love the instagram posts though, they will do if it's all you can muster.


February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Thank you for such a wonderful portrait of Jesus and his family. These are the pictures and stories that make you work so unique and important. I am grateful for each post Mr. Hess. I also greatly appreciate your endorsement of the Affordable Care Act. So many people, myself and my adult children included, are and will continue to benefit from it. I believe Health Care is a human right and without it, we allow suffering that demeans us all. I wish you well on your surgery. May you find great health and strength in your recovery. I have found Logbook such a beautiful place to visit. I share with all who come to read your words and see your pictures the hope that you will find a home for Logbook that allows you to make it what you would like for it to be.

February 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

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