By Gabe Farias, For Local Community News

For those of you who know me, you know I don’t remember a whole lot of stuff.

I have trouble recalling my middle name, and Lord knows how many birthdays of friends and family I forgot over the last several years.

But, there are certain memories that stick in my head.

One instance occurred several years ago when I got a phone call from my good buddy Leo Gomez, who at the time was just named CEO of the Brooks Development Authority, now known simply as Brooks.

I remember when Leo asked, “Hey, Gabe, what do you think about the University of the Incarnate Word medical school coming to Brooks?”

My immediate reaction was to say I thought a decision had already been made to build the campus downtown on land that previously housed Fox Tech High School.

Back in the day, I was somewhat of a City Hall insider, so I thought my information was solid.

Of course, Leo responded by saying he thought there was a chance it could come to the South Side.

Boy, was I happy to be wrong.

Because of the diligence of Leo and the hard work of the great folks at Brooks, and because of the foresight of our city leaders, San Antonio’s second medical school being located in south Bexar County became a reality.

To say the decision has made a positive impact on the South Side and will make a huge difference for the future health and wellness of our great country is an understatement.

There’s no hiding the fact we live in a different time right now.

Terms like COVID-19, novel coronavirus and pandemic dominate our everyday vocabulary, and nothing is changing anytime soon. What has also come to the forefront of our minds is the tremendous importance our medical-care professionals play in our lives.

Whether you are a medical assistant, nurse, phlebotomist, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or physician, you’re the folks on the front lines fighting this illness and saving patients.

You are the reasons we can someday return to some semblance of normalcy.

Watching firsthand those medical students at the UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine train and become medical professionals who will fight this, other pandemics, and many more illnesses, is — simply stated — special.

It’s truly the gift Brooks and the South Side will give to our nation for ages to come.

I tip my hat to Dr. Robyn Phillips-Madson, the proud dean of the campus, and all the great folks at the school for their tremendous work, day in and day out.

I also tip my hat to Leo, who had the foresight and vision to say, “Yes, the South Side is good enough to have San Antonio’s second medical campus.”

Farias is a longtime South Side resident, family man, active in his community, and chief operations officer at Kellum Physician Partners.

Article originally published here: The South Side gift that will keep on giving