On a scorching Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Felix Roque reflected on his late father, Dr. Jose Roque Abreu and the wonderful qualities he instilled in him and his siblings growing up in the United States.
“He led a beautiful life — quiet, humble and caring, ‘cause he really cared about his patients and I am honored that I can call him my father,” says an emotional Roque of his dad, who died on Saturday, July 23.
Abreu always pushed his kids to do their very best.
“Inspire us to study because he said studying is the only key to getting ahead in life,” the mayor says. “And he always said honor this great country because it’s the last frontier.
“He used to go 3:00 in the morning to see kids that were ill and he didn’t wanna charge ‘em.”
It’s a rare trait for a doctor.
“The thing people think about mostly is money so that’s very honorable,” says
Christian Lozano of West New York.
“Just shows he wasn’t just a doctor, he was a person with an amazing heart,” adds Rosemary Suarez of West New York.
The mayor says that’s just the way his father was.
“Mayor Roque has the same spirit as his father. So he’s the kind of person that helps the Spanish community as well,” says West New York resident Yesenia Ramos.
“Led the way to many Hispanics in town,” Suarez says.
The community came out to really offer their support for this beloved man and his grieving family.
“That just shows us this is how we should live in this community, there can only be peace,” West New York resident Arona Drouf says.
Abreu was a pioneer who gave so much to so many.
“He took an oath and as you can hear from the stories from his children and the mayor he took that very personally and was very honored to serve his community,” Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez says.
It’s a tremendous loss.
“Hopefully G-d now gives them the strength and courage to go on and the legacy of who their father was in this community — and that’s the gift of it all,” says Commissioner Susan Colacurcio.