2007 Santa Rosa High School graduate Dericke Romo went swimming with his buddies Sunday June 03, in Santa Rosa, NM. Monday June 04, Romo travels to Air Force boot camp in San Antonio, TX. Photo Right--Romo's buddy takes the running leap, bottom photo, Romo hits the water off the 30-foot No Tellum Cliff.
Photos by Nat Bloomer/Santa Rosa News
Photos by Nat Bloomer/Santa Rosa News
Romo does a backwards gainer into one of several crystal-clear, spring-fed lakes, two miles from Old Route 66 and downtown Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
Dericke Romo makes the decision of a lifetime
In last week’s issue of the Santa Rosa News readers were promised a story about the young man in the front-page feature photo. Read how he came to make an important decision about his life.
SANTA ROSA—To look at Dericke Romo he really doesn’t appear any different from most young men who recently graduated from Santa Rosa High School. He was a good student pulling in A’s and B’s and his favorite subject was the English class taught by Gene Timothy. But a recent decision he made about his life has set him apart from many of his classmates. Like most young people in a small, tight-knit community, he has plenty of friends. He and his friends spend time in the variety of lakes sprinkled around Santa Rosa. But at nearly 18 years of age, his leisure time has come to an abrupt end as a result of his decision.
Last December Dericke enlisted in the military. It all started when an Air Force recruiter, Sergeant Coleman, visited Santa Rosa High School. After meeting Sergeant Coleman, Dericke also talked to his uncle Arsenio Gallegos, a retired Air Force Sergeant who recommended that Romo join the military based on his own experience in the Air Force. As a result, the city of Santa Rosa and the state of New Mexico must say goodbye to a great kid.
The city loses another valuable asset—a young, smart kid full of potential. But if he had stayed in Santa Rosa what were his options, especially for employment?
In many small towns across America children grow up and go off to make their way in the world. Some attend college; others find jobs in nearby larger cities. It is a healthy progression for young people. They learn about the world outside of their comfort zone, gain valuable life experiences, wisdom and hopefully return as mature, contributing adults.
With their return to the hometown they bring with them new insights, business ideas, job skills, a wife or husband, and sometimes children. There is no better place to raise a family than in the safe and secure surroundings of a small town.
The hardest part of leaving, Romo says, will be missing his family, mom Jezette Gallegos and grandparents Leroy and Eileen Gallegos, and of course his friends. His grandparents live next door and he visited them nearly everyday. And who doesn’t miss their mom’s home cooking? One of his last nights home Jezette fixed one of his favorite meals, beans and red chile on a fresh flour tortilla.
But Romo is ready, even anxious to start his new life. For the last seven months he knew the day would come when he would say goodbye to his hometown and his loved ones.
“I am ready to go, ready to ship out,” he said. His summer now holds seven weeks in Air Force basic training in San Antonio, Texas instead of endless summer days diving into the cool waters in the high desert of Santa Rosa. After completing his basic training, he will attend Air Force tech school for specialized training in weapons.
So we all say goodbye: family and friends, the community, all as well-wishes for his safety. He made the decision to set the course for his life at an early age. He made the decision to leave Santa Rosa, his hometown. It can be good to leave your hometown for a while Dericke—just come back.
SANTA ROSA— Dericke Romo Story--HomeTown Hero Takes Flight, May 15, 2007 Issue NO.14
No Tellum Cliff, two miles from route 66, downtown Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Get a running jump off the cliff to land in deep water.