Family members of Andrew Velez feel a sense of closure. The body of their fallen soldier was returned home Wednesday. Andrew died in Afghanistan last week. The tragedy comes only two years after his older brother Freddy Velez was killed in Iraq. NewsChannel 11 was at Lubbock Preston-Smith International Airport when Andrew arrived home.
It was a moment the Velez family has been waiting for since they first heard the tragic news that Andrew had died. "It puts kind of a closure to us, because even when he was in Dover, he was still hundreds of miles away," said Andrew's father Roy Velez. Still, it was a moment that was hard to prepare for. Sister Monica and sister-in-law Nikki were overcome with emotion when the motorcade pulled away. "I'm going to do like Andrew. He says you challenge every fear. All good soldiers stand and hold their post," said Roy.
From the airport, the family went to Resthaven Funeral Home where they were finally able to see their son. "What closure, sir," said Roy. At a time like this, Roy holds a message from Andrew close to his heart. "I've done what I've done for my country, and I did what the Lord willed me to do," said Roy.
A viewing will be held Thursday from 6pm - 8pm at Resthaven, while a memorial service will be held at 7pm at the First Church of the Nazarene located near Spur 327 & Chicago. Funeral services for Andrew are schedule for Friday at 10am at Resthaven Memorial Park, located at 19th & Frankford.
7/31/06 Family Remembers Fallen Soldier Friends and family of fallen soldier Andrew Velez gathered Monday night to celebrate his life. Andrew was killed in Afghanistan last week. The family tells us the community's support is a real comfort. They've received hundreds of calls, letters, e-mails, and other well-wishes.