Son, Brother, Friend and Hero

Valerij Alyohin loved people and he loved his work. Although he spent long hours serving pools for his employer, Val frequently could be found also tending to the community pool at his apartment complex. “He took a lot of pride in what he did,” a neighbor said.

Val was born in Riga, Latvia, when that country was still a part of the Soviet Union. An ethnic Russian, Val grew up enjoying music, sports and animals. He was a dutiful only child until his sister, Ana, was born when Val was 15.

In 2004, Val’s family moved to California when his mother Tatiana remarried. Orange County proved to be a far cry from Val’s native Riga, and he struggled there. Five years later, Val made another move, this time by himself, migrating to the Houston area and settling in the Clear Lake region. NASA’s partnership with the Russian Space Agency had created a sizable local community of Russian natives and Val quickly felt at home.

Thanks to the recommendations of friends, Val landed a job at Aquamaid Pool Service. In a business where help was often transient in nature, Aquamaid’s Dana Oliver found a jewel in his new hire. “In time, Val was not just an employee,” Oliver says. “He became like a partner in the business and, most importantly, he became a friend.”

With financial stability, Val settled into a relationship with Olga McDade, like Val an ethnic Russian. He began immersing himself in the local community, taking great pride in his participation in the MDA’s Muscle Walk. According to Oliver, in the last months of his life, Val gained a self-assurance which bode well for his future.

Val is survived by his mother, Tatiana Harris, and sister, Ana Komina.

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