A celebratory night out ends in total devastation. On February 10, 2018 Cristina Alonzo and her husband Jose, aka Chelo, went to local nightclub, Delirium, with friends and family to celebrate the culmination of some very hard work and new business ventures.
Everything was fine until they were leaving the club. They called Cristina’s 19 year old son, Xzavier Ramos, to drive them home as the designated driver.
In the parking lot a woman was interacting with two men and didn’t look happy about it. One of the men grabbed her by her arm and was being very aggressive. Chelo stepped in to speak to the men, believing he was saving a damsel in distress.
When Xzavier got to the scene, he saw a crowd of people in a scuffle and his stepfather, Chelo, being pushed. He jumped out of the car and rushed over to pull him away.
That’s when gunshots rang out. Witnesses say it was over 10 shots from a .22 caliber gun. Xzavier was shot in the foot and Chelo was shot in the side.
However, this story is not about the about what happened that night. It’s not about gun laws, or crime, or “What has our town become?” This story is about Triumph and Tragedy- Not the board game, not the Winston Churchill book, not even the 90’s song by screamo band, Grade. This story is about The Alonzo family, how our amazing community joined together to support them in their time of need, and how they persevered through incredibly difficult times.
During the 59 days that Chelo was in the hospital, he encountered a myriad of problems. There were multiple surgeries and blood transfusions. At some points he was hypothermic, hypoglycemic, developed an abscess, and even became septic and was incredibly close to death. Cristina was by his side every single day. She slept in a recliner at the hospital every night. In the morning she would go home, shower and change, spend time with Xzavier, run errands, and head back to the hospital. She took photos and videos of the progress and complications while staying on top of the doctors and nurses. Chelo says, “What my wife has done is hard. If it wasn’t for her fighting every day… keeping track of everything… I can’t thank you enough My Lioness Queen.”
Neither Cristina nor Chelo could earn income at the business ventures they had just celebrated that fateful night in February. Cristina’s daughter, Annalice Morales, also in her senior year of high school, had to quit her job to help out. Since the Alonzos lost so much income, the community came together and had many fundraisers to help them keep up with normal expenses. Some people even cooked for them. Family members that they hadn’t seen in a while came to help with everyday living. Prayer chains were started all across social media and love poured in like the summer rains of Hernando County.
The Alonzo Family believes that God was watching over them. Chelo says, “God makes the impossible possible… God equals love. He showed me His grace and blessings through my family and the community.”
This type of tragic event would normally destroy a family, but throughout the adversity, The Alonzo Family became stronger. Chelo’s two children from a previous relationship, Jose Alonzo Jr. and Nyasia Alonzo, along with Cristina’s two children, Annalice and Xzavier, united and acted as one family unit. Even though Xzavier was in a lot of pain, he still persevered and was able to finish all his school classwork, completing his senior year and walking across the stage at graduation with his sister by his side. Not only that, but this determined young man was dual enrolled at Springstead and Pasco Hernando State College and he continued his college coursework despite the pain, doctors visits, and utter chaos. Family members drove him to classes on campus so that his grades would not suffer due to lack of attendance.
Not only did Xzavier graduate high school less than four months after this tragedy, but he also graduated PHSC with his associate’s degree. This kind of tenacity will definitely help him be a successful attorney in the future. Meanwhile, his stepfather was released from the hospital for good in April, and has made gradual progress since then.
One thing that helped this family get through such adversity was meditating on Isaaiah 41:10, which says,
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
This Father’s day, the Alonzo family is thankful that their family survived and is back on the right track. There is still a long road of recovery left, but it was a dream come true for Annalice and Xzavier to graduate and have their mom and stepfather there to watch it all. Chelo says, “This father’s day is special because I’m grateful for life, my family, and my community."
The Alonzo Family wishes to sincerely say thank you to Karma, Waste Management, The Lively Fitness Center, OCR United, Delirium, The Haehnel Family, and old and new friends who helped out, their families and everyone in the community.