Retiring Mustangs share their stories: Patrick Gutierrez

After working as an athletic attendant for 10 years, Patrick Gutierrez moved to Mississippi to spend more time with his family.


Philbert Loekman, Manager

“Once a Marine, Always a Marine.” Athletic Attendant Patrick Gutierrez has always lived by this motto, finding ways to overcome obstacles in any situation, bringing this mindset to Walnut High School during his time, 2011 to 2021. 

After being laid off during the 2009 economic recession as a construction project manager, Gutierrez was in search of a way to reinvent himself. After a 10-month-long course in the police academy, hours of tests and a technical interview, Gutierrez became a security officer at Walnut High School.

“[2009] was tough because my wife and I had a mortgage and car payments like everybody else. When the economy took a downturn, it was stressful. In construction, the thing that I had known for almost 20 years, it was hard to find a job because I was overqualified for a lot of positions. I reinvented myself, went back to security and police work and things that I’ve always wanted to do, and that’s what brought me to Walnut High School,” Gutierrez said. 

After three and a half years, Gutierrez became an athletic attendant, learning from and working with colleague Connie Sanchez. His duties included setting up venues, maintaining athletic equipment and traveling with the football team. 

“Looking back on the 10 years that I spent at Walnut High School, there were so many people that I met and worked with who were great people. It was a really good place to work and just like the [saying], ‘some of us were born there, some of us moved there, but we are all family.’ That’s the way I looked at it,” Gutierrez said.

With his decade-long tenure at Walnut High School, Gutierrez was able to work alongside his children: Jeffery DePrez Jr. (Class of 2018), Michael Gutierrez (Class of 2019) and Kate Gutierrez (Class of 2024), who attended two years before moving.

“Some of my favorite moments were watching my two boys graduate. Jeffrey [played] in football and baseball, and Michael was the manager of the football and track team and [helped] videotaping the games. It was also really nice to bring my daughter Kate to Walnut High School and watch her begin her high school career,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez moved to Ellisville, Mississippi, and now spends his time exploring other hobbies and passions such as golf, yardwork and housework. Seeing a majority of his children graduate, Gutierrez has a few words of wisdom for all students.

“Live your life and don’t be in a hurry to become an adult. Make the best out of life and really enjoy these years in high school,” Gutierrez said. “Your time at Walnut High School should be looked at as some of the best years of your young life.”