What do you remember most about your Father?
His craziness, his personality. He was the funniest guy I knew. Loved to joke- that’s where I get it from.
Your son Christopher Duran, his grandson said he was all work no play.
That was my Dad, even after a funeral, we went to eat and then he said, ”ok let’s get back to work.” He even said it after my grandfather’s funeral. “I told him after you die, I am going to close the paper for two weeks.!” He said, “ You son of a Gun, you better not!”
How do feel about running the paper without your dad at the helm?
I really don’t feel like I am doing this without him.15 years ago, I told him when I retired from Alamo Colleges, I would come and help him for free. I am ready to retire and I am running the paper and working for free like I said I would do. I feel like I am helping him. This is my way of honoring him and keeping him alive.
You have partnerships now with La Prensa Texas; your father did not.
Tino wanted it to be Durans and Durans only. We use to tell him we thought he loved the newspaper more than us. He would say, “if I stop, the money stops. As long as I keep going, you guys have all this.” When we grew up, we had a 2 acre lot with a two story house; 4 bedrooms. That was unheard of for Hispanics to have that much property and to live like that in 1968. He provided for us really well. He left so many wonderful memories.There isn’t one day that I do not hear a story about my dad.
Now that you have a board, do you think it was right to go with your decision to become a non profit organization?
Absolutely,. This has been a very positive addition. They have all contributed to keeping the reputation of La Prensa Texas alive. They remind other boards they are part of us to advertise with us. Our partnership with the WDC has been the biggest asset of all. They stand and deliver on their mission statement to foster economic development, and preserve the character, culture and history of the Westside.
There were things your dad wanted to keep in place but at the time you did not want to.
He was headstrong against my ideas. People often ask me, “Why do you help him? He is so mean to you.” I would tell people, “ you see it that way but I see that he’s trying to teach me something” and he was. He taught me right from wrong. He taught me how to survive. In my whole life, I have never applied for any government assistance or unemployment benefits. He taught me more than any teacher could have taught me, any instructor, any college, anyone in this world. There are times that people ask me “why did you do it that way?” I would say because I’m a Duran. That’s the Duran way ;you wouldn’t understand.
If you could have one more conversation with your father what would it be?
I would like to talk about the time my grandmother, who was his mother, picked me up for the first time ever. She favored my other two brothers because I was usually with my other grandma. She really never cared for me. That day, she made up for it. It was the best day of my life. She bought me ice cream and she bought me shoes. I even got to spend the night at her house. That night, an ambulance picked her up. I never saw her again; she passed away that night. It is strange because I don’t remember any of the bad stuff. I just remember that very special day. I would like my dad to know that. We never talked about it
When you look back now, do you see that you are exactly like your father?
I have his temper and I have his love for the community of San Antonio. Like him, to this day, I feel like I haven’t done enough. My wife asked me when will enough be enough. I feel like I would like to make a bigger impact than I have. I was the trouble child. I would quit jobs all the time just because they upset me. I finally found my way. I grew up and I did what I needed to do. My dad did tough love on me and that was hard but I learned from it; I learned how to survive on my own. I am like my Dad because nothing can keep me down. If I have something to say, I say it. If I say I am going to do something, I do it.
When the publisher chose to close La Prensa down rather than pass it on, what was the most difficult part of that for you?
The hardest thing was taking the money out of my retirement, and not knowing if the paper was going to survive. Everybody asked me to keep it going, but nobody stepped up to help me get it done; nobody said, “ let me help you do this financially.” Then tragedy couldn’t have struck at a worst time. There was a flood that destroyed our home, vehicles, and all we owned. If it wasn’t for my staff and our board. I would have closed down 6 months ago. The only reason I keep going is because I made a commitment to San Antonio and I want to stand by my commitment.
Before I leave this earth, I want to make sure La Prensa Texas continues to serve the community; This is how I walk in my father’s footsteps.