Plaque in memory of border patrol agent to be placed near river in Dunsmuir

Steve Gerace
Lorena and Victor Giannini try out the spot near the Upper Sacramento River in Dunsmuir where a plaque will be placed in memory of their 25 year old son Alex, a border patrol agent who died in the line of duty in Arizona earlier this year. Alex grew up vacationing in Dunsmuir and was an avid catch-and-release fly fisher who came to the river as often as possible.

Victor and Lorena Giannini said their son’s dream was to build a cabin and retire in Dunsmuir, a place he visited often to enjoy fly fishing on the river.

But Alex Giannini died in the line of duty at age 25 while working as a federal border patrol agent in Wilcox, Ariz., May 28, 2014.

The Gianninis met last week with Dunsmuir Recreation and Parks District administrator Mike Rodriguez and maintenance supervisor Dale Falkner to finalize the spot along the Upper Sacramento River for a plaque in honor of Alex’s memory.

Accompanied by Lorena’s brother Javier, they chose a large rock below the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens.

When they first met with Rodriguez about their ideas for the plaque in August, Victor and Lorena spoke with pride about Alex, who accomplished much in his too-short life and was honored with a memorial service attended by 4,000 people, including representatives from the White House.

They said they started vacationing in Dunsmuir when Alex was four years old.

“He was a catch-and-release fly fisher,” Victor said of Alex. “He made sure he came to Dunsmuir twice a year.” The last time Alex visited was October 2013 for his birthday.

This October on Alex’s birthday, Victor said nine border patrol agents came to Dunsmuir to honor him.

The Gianninis said Alex wanted to build a cabin in Dunsmuir where he and his older sister by 18 months, Stephanie, could spend time with their families after retiring.

Born Oct. 14, 1989, Alex got started in law enforcement as an Explorer with the Roseville Police Department, his parents said. He took criminal justice courses at Sierra College and worked at Starbucks while still in high school. After passing the required test, he went to the academy in New Mexico, then got a job with the border patrol in Wilcox.

“He loved being out in the wilderness on border patrol,” said Victor. “Alex always said, ‘I’m living my dream.’”

After his son died, Victor said he talked to men in Wilcox who said Alex helped them change their lives for the better after he arrested them. During his five years there, Alex bought a house, worked with Border Patrol Explorers and was in line to be promoted to Captain. But whenever he had three or four days off in a row, “he had to come here fishing,” Victor said while standing near the river in August.

“This is the place we came for vacation when they were little,” Lorena said of Alex and Stephanie, who studied criminal justice at Sacramento State and now works for the Roseville Police Department.

They would stay at Cave Springs Motel or the Oak Tree Inn, because of its proximity to the Ted Fay Fly Shop, Victor said.

Lorena talked about “the beautiful service” held for Alex in Wilcox. “Most of the stores closed for half the day in honor of him,” she said. “During the procession people came out of their houses with flags, salutes and signs.”

She said a trust fund has been established in Alex’s name for a foundation that raises funds to help students attend law enforcement school.

The plaque in memory of Alex reads:

“Alexander Irving Giannini

October 14, 1989

May 28, 2014 End of Watch

US Border Patrol Agent W186

Wilcox Arizona Station

An avid fly fisher and outdoor lover

You will be missed, but never forgotten

by your family and friends.

‘Always Living the Dream’”