On Friday night, NewsChannel 11 sat down with Freddy Velez's father, Roy, who shared memories of his son. On Saturday, NewsChannel 11 spoke with Freddy's wife and mother. They say their comfort comes from knowing that Freddy is now in a better place. In a final letter to his parents he wrote:
"I have on the full armor of God, and I am ready to march on to battle to destroy my enemies. If God is for us, who can be against us."
On Saturday, his wife and mother shared memories of a soldier who to them was simply a loving husband and a caring son. When Freddy Velez would call from Iraq, his wife, Nickie, could almost guarantee they would talk about her husband's most prized possession.
"He always asked about his motorcycle. He'd always beg me about what stuff he wanted for his motorcycle," says Nickie.
But when her husband called on Halloween, the conversation was different, more somber.
"He told me no matter what happened that he would love me, and he never said that. Before, he told me he was coming home. He told me to be strong. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't want to believe it," says Nickie.
This would be Nickie's final conversation with the man who had been her high school sweetheart, husband, and best friend. 13 days later, Freddy Velez was killed by insurgents during combat in Fallujah.
"I just miss him so much. It still hasn't sunken in. I did all the arrangements, and it still, I still think he's over there. I'm just so scared when I see him, and it's going to be true," says Nickie.
"I didn't know how to react when this news was given to us, other than just hold my head and walk back and forth and back and forth and I was terrified. It was so unreal," says Carmen Velez, Freddy's mother.
Carmen hopes people will remember a man, a soldier who knew the price of freedom, a price Freddy was willing to pay.
"To Freddy, I just want to tell him he's going to be missed. I love him," says Carmen.
This is not the final goodbye though. There are words written by Freddy that have yet to be read.
"There's still one letter," says Nickie.
A letter that Freddy never had the chance to send.
"I'm scared what's in it, that he's going to explain to me why," says Nickie.
It will be a while before Nickie receives that final letter written by her husband, a soldier whose bravery will forever be symbolized by a purple heart. Freddy is also being honored with the bronze star.
The Jose Alfredo Velez Memorial Fund has been set up by his family. You can call any Wells Fargo to learn more about making a donation.