Houston couple honors late son's Christmas list, gives presents to another boy

A Houston mother and father whose 10-year-old son died earlier this year are honoring him this Christmas with something he left them. 

In September, Victor Peterzen was riding his bike in his Spring Branch neighborhood when he was struck by a car. He later died in the hospital. 

Victor had already written his Christmas list for Santa Claus.

"He had written the list on a little piece of cardboard," recalled his mother, Luisa Peterzen. "While we were riding in the car and he mentioned, 'This is what I'm going to get for Christmas.' So, we decided to turn the list into a blessing for another child."

That child is a 10-year-old boy named Carlos Gutierrez. Luisa says he was recommended by a school counselor who thought his family could use the help. The Peterzens surprised him on Christmas Day. 

"We know that's what Victor would have wanted because he was very considerate and caring of others," said Rodney Peterzen, Victor's father.

Carlos tells FOX 26 he is very thankful for the presents but feels sad about what happened to Victor.

The Peterzens say they felt Victor's presence through Carlos.

"Our Christmas will never be the same. The only joy we felt [Friday] was giving to Carlos," Rodney said tearfully. 

Rodney and Luisa say they were so touched by what Carlos said to them.

"He was more interested in [learning] about who Victor was, to learn about what happened," Luisa recalled. "And, he told me that everything was going to be okay." 

Now the family plans to make giving presents in Victor's honor an annual tradition. They call it Victor's Forever Christmas List.

"To decide that we could, in the middle of the tears, bring some inspiration to another boy that is also 10-years-old like our son is something that we treasure and that we think can tell other people the message is that there is hope," Luisa concluded.

The family has also partnered with a local business to collect gifts in Victor's honor to donate to Texas Children's Hospital. The collection will end January 5. 

The Peterzens are working to change the speed limit in their neighborhood in hopes of preventing another tragedy. They plan to host a peaceful march to draw attention to the issue next month. They add Victor's case is before a grand jury.