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Hidalgo County honors fallen soldiers

20111111_HidalgoCoVetMemorialWall_CAB_0086_1EDINBURG — Hidalgo County honored nine fallen soldiers during a ceremony at the courthouse on Nov. 5 adding their names to the memorial wall on the east lawn and their pictures to a wall in the administrative building.

Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said the memorial was to honor the memory and sacrifice the individuals made.

“Most of all the sacrifice that was made by these nine young men that we honor here today and their families,” said Garcia. “Freedom has been earned by their sacrifice.”


Garcia added that it is because of these sacrifices that the justice system is what it is today.

“Their names will be here many, many more years to come,” he said.

Jaime Longoria, Garcia’s assistant chief of staff, presented a speech detailing some of the aspirations the men had before their lives were cut short.

SSG. Juan Francisco Campos, 27, of McAllen, died on June 1, 2007. Shortly before the date of his death, Campos found out his wife was expecting their second child.

Cpl. Jose Abraham Rubio-Hernandez, 24, of Mission, died on March 24, 2008. Rubio-Hernandez spent his time giving back to his adoptive country.

Spc. Alex Daniel Gonzalez, 21, of Mission, died May 6, 2008. Gonzalez had dreams of becoming a Mission police. He was always concerned about making sure his fellow soldiers would make it home safe, said Longoria. He often volunteered for the more dangerous missions.

20111111_HidalgoCoVetMemorialWall_CAB_0044Ssg. Bradley Espinoza, 26, of Mission, died Oct. 19, 2009. Family members say Espinoza always had a way of making others smile.

Sgt. Fernando De La Rosa, 24, died Oct. 27, 2009. De La Roas was thrilled when he heard Alamo Mayor Rudy Villarreal made June 4 Fernando De La Rosa Day. De La Rosa also said his family lived by the Army slogan “Be all that you can be.”

Lcpl. Derek Hernandez, 20, of Edinburg, died June 6, 2010. Hernandez was devoted to his hometown, family, and friends.

Pfc. Diego Montoya, 20, of San Antonio, previously of Mission, died Sept. 2, 2010. Montoya was known as Iron Man by friends and family. He once said he was a soldier and “I am good at what I do.”

“Friends are my downfall,” Montoya wrote in a letter. “I’ll do anything for them.”

He told his sister once, “Any time a man dies for his country, you don’t cry.”

Sgt. Rodolfo Rodriguez Jr., 26, of Pharr, died Sept. 14. Rodriguez is said to be an inspiration to all who knew him.

Capt. Ben A. Ramos in Afghanistan said, “We will continue the fight with inspiration from his memory and heroism of those we have lost in this struggle for freedom.”

Ssg. Estevan Altamirano, 30, of Edcouch, died Sept. 18, 2011. Altamirano was known as Speedy by his loved ones. When approached about a deployment, Altamirano said, “I can’t leave my brothers behind.”

Longoria said the monument should be viewed as the undying hopes and dreams of those young men and women who understood the premise that freedom is not free.

“They willingly paid the price,” he said. “Your loved ones will never be forgotten in Hidalgo County.”

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