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Dan Haggerty's colleagues speak out about the remarkable man he was

By Jerry Najera, Multimedia Journalist
Published On: Jun 30 2013 03:41:21 AM CDT
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 10:13:32 PM CST

Friends and family laughed and cried remembering Haggerty and his unique personality.

El Paso, Texas -

The politician led a life of service, his loved ones say.

The Vietnam veteran had 10 brothers and sisters, and was a part of an Irish-American legacy in the borderland.

Haggerty was the only Republican county office holder.

He'd never lost a race.

The county commissioner was admired by supporters and liked by his opponents.

Not many can deny meeting Haggerty would leave a lasting impression.

His over-the-top style, messy hair and opinions set the stage for a huge presence in our city.

Saturday his colleagues and family tell us why he was such a grandiose man.

"An individual of unique power even when you disagreed with him, by the end of the conversation, you couldn't help but love the man," said County Commissioner Sergio Lewis.

"The thing that was really wonderful about Dan was that he had such a full heart, and so it was always overflowing with laughter and so it was contagious, you couldn't be around Dan and not feel uplifted and laugh with him," said County Judge Veronica Escobar. 

The county judge along with county commissioners and family stood around and told stories of the man so many knew.

As someone that made people smile in any circumstance.

Haggerty was also known for possessing strong convictions and never holding back.

"He stood for what he stood for and it was no BS. And I think people respected that," said his brother Brian.

He reveals just one of Haggerty's many talents:

"He just had a unique way of breaking the tension and getting everyone back on track. It's just the way he is, it was one of his talents," said Brian.

In Haggerty's time of need, no one stood closer to him than his assistant Jerry McTernan.

He says Haggerty, a humble man, wanted to keep things simple, even after his death.

"He wanted his nieces and nephews to actually build his casket and unfortunately because they moved along and happens so quickly at the end, I actually built it myself in my garage," said McTernan.

A show of dedication, he says, worthy of his remarkable colleague.

"I drove him for the last year and a half to his medical appointment, I wanted to do that, I'm going to be driving him to his service and to the cemetery," said McTernan.

A loss that maybe best put like Haggerty himself, simply:

"Just an incredible individual, El Paso truly lost a extraordinary humane being," said Lewis.

Dan Haggerty would have turned 65 this September.

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