Brandon Valdez by all accounts was a “great guy.”
He had a strong work ethic, doted on his two daughters, loved his girlfriend and family plus was a journeyman auto body specialist.
Then on April 23, 2011 at age 24 he took his life.
To honor his memory and to try and help “someone somewhere before it is too late”, his family and friends are staging a BBQ Saturday to raise funds for the Out of the Darkness and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It takes place starting at 3 p.m. to closing at the Starlite Room in Lincoln Center off of West Yosemite Avenue and El Portal Avenue. The cost is $5 a plate.
There are also more than 30 prizes that will be raffled.
The money will go with other funds his mother Michelle Anderson and the team she has put together for the suicide prevention organization’s Overnight San Francisco Walk taking place June 9-10. The team is dubbed “Brandonpalozza”. Others on the team that is raising money and walking besides his brother are Wendy Robles, Sherry Willis, Glenda Windham, his brother Storm Anderson, Crystal Tanaka, and Sharon McClelland. They will cover 18 miles on the overnight walk.
Valdez enjoyed being raised in Manteca as a child, where he lived with his family - Jim, Michelle, Joshua, Storm, and Carson Anderson. He attended McParland Elementary and New Haven Elementary schools. He played youth football with the Manteca Chargers and the Delta Rebels.
Valdez moved to Modesto with his family and attended Grace Davis High School where he played football and wrestled. He moved back to Manteca when his family did.
He attended Cuesta College in Southern California. After college, Valdez returned to Manteca and started a family. He worked as an auto body specialist and was considered to be an outstanding journeyman.
Valdez, along with his girlfriend Jacki Caron, was raising two daughters, Brooklynn and Ashlynn. Valdez moved in across the street from his family and spent a lot of time with his brothers, friends, and daughters.
“He was a very well liked young man, who had an outstanding work ethic,” noted Jim Anderson who helped raise Valdez since he was 3. “Brandon was a great son, father, grandson, uncle, and friend. “
Anderson recalled how he and his wife went out with Valdez and his girlfriend the night before he killed himself.
“He and I spent the last two hours of his life alone, at his house, joking and laughing,” Anderson said. “I found him the next morning. He had a self inflicted shotgun wound to the head. I was in law enforcement for years and truly never thought it would happen to us. Truly there were no signs that this was coming at all.”
In one of the posters promoting the walk, Valdez’ mother wrote, “if the funds we raise help reach one person, just one person, then 18 miles is a very small step. I walk because my child had an illness and needed help. I walk because I want that treatment and facilities and education available. I walk so hopefully you will never have to.”