A Shining Star

I was hoping that I didn’t have to write something of this nature this year, as I did last year.  But I will write this as catharsis and to give a perspective about an individual who didn’t want the limelight for himself.

He wanted his community to have the enormous opportunity to be successful.

I have known Warren Morrow for nearly 7 years.  A quiet, reserved, and engaging person, Warren was always humble and, more importantly, appreciative of what he has accomplished and what he has went through in his life.

On Wednesday morning, one of the valves in his heart malfunctioned and his heart shut down.  Warren was 34.

Before the uptick of entrepreneurship and startups here in Des Moines, Warren was on the original frontlines of starting up a company.  Max Cardenas and him formed a consulting company that became Coopera Consulting that connected credit unions to the Latino communities.  Warren and Max realized, before anyone else, that the fastest growing group of potential banking customers were Latino Americans and it was imperative that financial institutions reached out and help their new customers open up accounts, receive financial advice, among other services.

As Max moved on to a new opportunity, Warren continued to position Coopera to a bigger role in bridging the banking and Latino communities.

While that was important, Warren did more than that.  As a student at Grinnell, he established a program to help fellow Hispanics attend college.  It was there where he saw that there was a gap that needed to be filled:  giving Hispanics the financial tools and the opportunity to build their dreams.

An ardent advocate of the Latino community, Warren and his wife Christina were proud of their heritage and helped volunteer or lead in efforts to serve their community, such as the Latino Heritage Festival.

Warren always had a smile on his face, whether it was a tough day or a great day.  He was gregarious and so respectful of people.  It wasn’t hard at all for people to support him and reach out to him for advice.

I was one of many that were a friend, acquaintance, fan, and supporter.

Which is why I hate writing this post tonight.  It doesn’t feel right.  It doesn’t feel fair.  In December I wrote that “I wasn’t deserving” of the (YPC Community Service) award I received, but I should not deny it, but to embrace it.

Tonight is another reason why I don’t feel I deserved the two awards I received in 2011.

Because a phenomenal man like Warren Morrow deserved it more.

A shining star…no longer here.

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