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JROTC building named after local war veteran

Lizbeth Flores described her father Omar Flores as an intelligent man with a great sense of humor at the La Joya ISD Veterans Day ceremony.

Omar Flores was a 1996 La Joya High School graduate and served in the U.S. Army for 10 years before his death on July 8, 2006. The staff sergeant was killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom when an improvised explosive device detonated near his mine-protected vehicle. IEDs are small, homemade bombs used specifically to damage vehicles in war.

La Joya ISD’s board of trustees approved the renaming of their JROTC building to the Omar Demetrio Flores JROTC Building, which became official at the Veterans Day ceremony.20151113 LJISD JROTC building dedication LVJ

“I remember distinctly when I was an interim superintendent and I went on the afternoon of July 8 to console the family of Omar Flores that they had been given the word that he had passed on. I know that the days from then on had been difficult for you,” Superintendent Alda Benavides said to the crowd where Omar’s family sat. “It is very fitting that our board of trustees decided to dedicate this building in honor of your son.”

Omar Flores had a passion for baseball and he loved soccer, according to his daughter. He was a guitar player who sang along to his rancheras. She recalled a memory of when the family moved to be closer to her father, who was stationed in Germany at the time.

“I remember it like it was yesterday, getting off that plane and seeing my father with open arms to run into,” she said. “The joy in my heart was like no other. I still remember his huge smile and tears.”

She remembers the days when he didn’t work and when he taught her how to ride a bike. Whenever she fell, he told her to never give up, a sentiment she takes to heart in his absence. When their family received the news of his death, Lizbeth said it was as if her world stopped.

Her voice began to shake as she read her memories to the ceremony attendees.

“Sometimes I wish I could just go to his grave and dig him out,” she said. “But now he is in heaven watching over us and I thank god for the family he has left me behind. It is such an honor for everyone that is here today to put this together and to dedicate this building to my father.”

A framed photo of Omar Flores now hangs in his namesake building.

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