Lubbock native Freddy Velez was buried in Lubbock November 21, 2004. Hundreds of veterans came to pay their respects that day. The 23-year-old was killed November 11th in Fallujah. Insurgents threw a grenade into the fox hole he was in. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire shares the story of the family Velez left behind.
Freddy's father, Roy Velez is building a lasting memorial to his son in the room where Freddy grew up. It's a collection of pictures, military medals, and the flag given to the family after Freddy died.
"That day still rings out. What a memory to have, that November 13, 2004," said Roy.
It's been almost two years since they received the phone call that Freddy had died. They've kept sympathy cards and memorabilia sent to them in the wake of his death, but still, it's difficult for Roy to look at those memories left behind.
"I spend my time having memories of him, remembering the crazy things he would do or say and the playful gestures he always had," said Roy.
Freddy's mother, Carmen Velez says, "you expect him and it's like he's not gone, like he's still here, like we still expect him. That's the hardest thing."
The Velez's say life hasn't been easy over the last two years. Birthdays and holidays pass without their son, however, they find comfort in the fact that Freddy died for our freedom, that's why they keep his memory alive.
"Holidays are very important to us," says Roy, "we come together as a family and recognize him as the hero he was."
Three months ago, Freddy's brother Andrew was deployed, and now the family prays to ease the pain of losing Freddy, and to bring Andrew back safely.
"You don't know how hard it is when you don't hear from a son that's in Afghanistan but maybe once every two weeks. I just hope that phone never rings, much like that day, November 13, when we were notified about Freddy."
|Lubbock Area Veterans War Memorial Index|