New Mexico man featured on parade float

Posted at: 12/05/2012 5:04 PM
Updated at: 12/05/2012 5:29 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

All eyes will be on the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. And this time around, people along the route and watching on TV will be looking into the eyes of a New Mexico man.

In 2009, John Nunez's body was beaten by cancer, so tissue donation wasn't an option for him and his family. Big believers in being donors, John's eyes could still help someone, and has according to his older brother Steve Nunez.

"That is just something that I can't even put into words. The idea that somebody is actually able to see now as a result of that gift John gave," Nunez said.

The Nunez family doesn't know who got John's corneas. But they do know that there are two women living in the southern part of the country who see now, thanks to his gift. His brother Steve loves seeing John's death turn into something good.

"He's still playing a role. He's still being the big hearted person that we knew him when he was alive. That's special," Nunez said.

Nunez's face will appear on the "DONATE LIFE" float. His likeness is made of seeds and floral material. John's "FLORAGRAPH" arrived for the Nunez family to put the finishing touches on it. They're thrilled to see him being part of such a huge spectacle. His daughter Nickki Nunez thinks her Dad deserves it.

"I think he truly deserves this. I mean the kind of man he was. He was all about giving and that's exactly what he did- to give somebody the ability to see," she said.

Steve still can't believe it. "Oh my gosh. That's exciting. I think all of us are just really excited about the idea that he's going to be a part of something that's going to be seen by millions and millions of people."

For daughter Jessica Nunez, she finds it fitting that her father lives on in two other peoples ability to see. She says that his eyes were special. "They were very comforting. He had the most amazing eyes and wish I had just one more day to look into them," she said.

The Tournement of Roses Parade airs on KOB-TV on New Year's Day. It starts at 9:30 AM.