Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo was on hand last Saturday at the corner of 156th Street and Courtlandt Avenue to honor fallen soldier Sgt. Jose Velez as a street in the Bronx was renamed in his memory.
Family and Friends On Hand For Ceremony
Joining the councilwoman was Sgt. Velez’s mother Rosa, his son, 16 year old Christopher Velez, daughter Melody, his sister Margo Velez, 40, and other friends and relatives.
Rosa still lives in the Jackson Houses, outside of which the new street name, ‘Sgt. Jose Velez Avenue’ will be a great source of consolation for all those who knew the soldier.
“I’m speechless,” said Christopher as he gazed up at his father’s name. “We can walk by, and hold our head high. People will think of my father when they walk here.”
Rosa was wearing her son’s dog tags for the unveiling of the street name.
“I’m very proud of him to serve his country….I miss him every day,” she said. “Today is bittersweet. I know my son was very happy to serve. He was a very content person.
“I’m fortunate that the city recognized him,” said Rosa, who attended the unveiling with Christopher and Jose’s daughter, Melody. “The ones that didn’t know him will know him when they walk down this street.”
“This is going to be a reminder of how great a human being he was” added Margo, Jose’s sister. “Everyone will know who he is. He deserves it.”
Driver in Iraq
Velez joined the army in 2004 after working as a truck driver after his graduation from DeWitt Clinton High School. He worked as a driver in Fort Totten, Queens in the 773rd Transportation Battalion until he was sent to Iraq in February 2006. He was based there in Baghdad.
On June 9, 2006 a bomb blew up next to his Humvee in Kirkuk, killing his only three days short of his 36th birthday.