HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Balloons filled the air in downtown Buda. It was a celebration of a life gone too soon. Noah Rodriguez, a Hays Consolidated Independent School District student, died from fentanyl poisoning in August. He would’ve turned 16 years old Sunday.
It’s a celebration Janel Rodriguez, Noah’s mom, promised she’d have.
“The day before Noah passed we were making birthday plans. Really the only thing he asked for was the tres leches cake. That’s all he knew he wanted to do,” Janel said.
Janel and her family fulfilled his wish with a row of his favorite cake and balloons with handwritten messages for the birthday boy.
“This is not the way we wanted to celebrate his 16th birthday, but he’s got a bigger party going on upstairs right now,” Janel said.
Noah is one of four Hays CISD students who died from fentanyl this year.
It’s an issue the Hays County Sheriff’s Office is facing head on through a partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration and community meetings.
The sheriff’s office said it’ll ask the county for up to $20,000 to help with its fight against fentanyl. It said the money will help with education and outreach to the community about this opioid crisis.
For Janel, Noah’s birthday will never be the same. But still, she said she’ll celebrate it surrounded by loved ones, because that’s what he would’ve wanted.
“I know without a fact he’s rejoicing, and he’s happy and can’t wait to read all the balloons,” Janel said.
The sheriff’s office will ask for the money at Tuesday’s Hays County commissioners meeting.
They said it will go toward printing pamphlets and possibly buying video equipment to help create fentanyl public service announcements for the community.