Bexar County commissioners voted Tuesday to rename the Bexar County Fire Marshal building after Nathan Kyle Coleman, who died at age 69 in July after contracting the novel coronavirus.

Coleman served as the emergency management coordinator and oversaw coronavirus response from the beginning of the pandemic until his death. Before that, he served at the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, where he met Commissioner Chico Rodriguez (Pct. 1). 

Rodriguez said he has 40 years of memories of Coleman and of his hard work for the County.

Coleman helped install full-time first responders in Alamo Ranch and the North Side, Rodriguez said. Coleman also oversaw natural disasters in San Antonio, welcoming refugees from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and helped build the emergency center at Brooks, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.

Naming the fire marshal building after Coleman made sense to Rodriguez because “he was there from the very beginning.”

“He never took credit for anything,” Rodriguez said. “He never stopped working. I could call him at any time of the hour and he would answer.”

Wolff said he wishes Coleman were still here to see coronavirus numbers decrease. San Antonio Metropolitan Health District downgraded the area risk level for COVID-19 from “steady” to “moderate” on Monday.

“I think he would have been very happy to have been with us as we are on the right road toward conquering this thing,” Wolff said.

Calvert said renaming the building in Coleman’s honor helped put his efforts on the record of Bexar County.

“There are a lot of unsung heroes [among] County workers, and [Coleman] is certainly amongst the top,” Calvert said.

Commissioners also heard an update on the Temporary Rental Assistance Measure (TRAM), which provides financial assistance to people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Out of the 1,257 eligible households who have applied for funding, 327 have received assistance to the tune of $979,035. The program has a total of $9.4 million available.

Out of the $6.5 million in grant funding dedicated to helping small businesses, most has already been distributed by San Antonio-based microlender LiftFund. There is still $785,805 left to distribute, most of which is earmarked for businesses in Precinct 1. 

Commissioners also voted to convert $5 million in small business loans distributed earlier in 2020 to grants.

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.