Have you ever wanted to achieve something, but never quite got around to it? Have you ever had the feeling that you’re up against the system, but never made the decision to get involved and change it?
Although we’ve all been there and felt that way, how often did we muster the determination to follow through? Perhaps we didn’t have the confidence and/or intestinal fortitude to charge up that hill. Or, we may have listened to well-intended advice from friends who told us the hill was too steep to climb.
Al Filidoro is not the type of guy to heed such advice. Tell him he can’t do something and he’ll work harder to prove you wrong. Tell him he’s facing a fierce battle with little chance to win and he starts donning his combat gear. That’s because he’s been in the trenches, on many levels, and knows how to deal with hard realities.
In his mid-40’s, after a career that included market development with GTE/Verizon, Filidoro made a decision to become a lawyer. At the age of 50, when most people have resigned themselves to staying with their initial occupation, Al earned his JD from Texas A&M (Wesleyan) School of Law. Soon after realizing a dream, a nightmare began. His wife Janet, a nurse administrator, was diagnosed with breast cancer. A seven-year struggle began to save her life. Al worked his law practice from his home office as he attended to her, sometimes not leaving the house for months at a time, except to take her for regular treatments at a local hospital. Ultimately, the cancer spread to her lungs and her brain before she succumbed to the deadly disease. Watching a loved one deal with such pain as they slowly slip out of your world is unfathomable to anyone who has not dealt with such a heart-wrenching experience.
As a part-time lawyer and full-time caregiver, Al said he learned about compassion and humility. When his wife passed away, it seemed as if his strength had finally withered under the strain, and he developed pneumonia. Not one to allow self-pity to engulf him, he fought his way back to health and became reconnected to the community. One of his first endeavors was to join with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. He began attending events and wearing the pink ties that signifies the fight against breast cancer. “At first I did it for Janet, but then I began to meet so many good people who were working hard to save lives,” he said. He continued his association with the group after becoming a Flower Mound Council member, promoting their “Race For the Cure,” at every opportunity. In addition to being an elected official, Filidoro has been active in civic and charitable affairs.
From the Flower Mound Rotary Club, to the Summit Club, to Leadership graduate of the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce and numerous other associations, he has earned a prestigious place in the hearts and minds of the community. A member director of the Flower Mound Bar and active member of the Denton County Bar Associations, Filidoro currently practices contract law, small business, family law and is a trained mediator. He is also involved with the Denton County Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (DCAP) that deals with small businesses and provides court appointed mediation services to litigants at a limited cost. Often doing “pro-bono” legal work and mediations, as a member of the Flower Mound and Denton County Bar, Al offers free services each year in a “Wills for Heroes” program. Once a year, a police or fire department is chosen, and members receive free wills. On National Adoption Day, Al has focused on children that have been entered into the CPS system, helping families that want to adopt them to have the legal work done for free.
Well, now Al Filidoro is taking on another challenge, he’s running in the Republican primary for Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4. He’s also about to celebrate two years of marriage to his lovely wife, Terry (who, by the way, works with her husband as a certified paralegal, and is running unopposed for Precinct Chair in this district). Like Al, Terry is an indefatigable campaigner, who has worked the district with him for several months. Al and Terry recently had a lunch interview with Annette and me at our home . “You may be surprised to learn that 80% of all lawsuits filed in Texas are filed in Justice of the Peace courts,” Al said. “The court docket mainly consists of misdemeanors, small claims, truancy, evictions, traffic tickets, and acts as a key link between residents and government.
“My track record as a public official, mediator, educator, and legal professional demonstrate that I can best serve the wide variety of cases that come before this court. I promise to bring new ideas, innovations, and energy while remembering that judges enforce the law, not make the law,” he added. Although the position doesn’t require a law degree, Filidoro said, “It’s fine for the position not to need an attorney, but it’s also good to have a legal background to guarantee equal representation for all.”
Early voting runs from February 18-28. Election Day is March 4.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.