This week I have three people to talk about. Roy Velez and his two
sons, Jose and Andrew. One who was lost in Iraq and another who lost his
life in Afghanistan.
It happens almost daily. A stranger reaches out to comfort Roy
Velez, unintended symbol of unspeakable loss and grief.
Today it's a woman who approaches as he's halfway through breakfast at
Montelongo's Mexican restaurant.
"My brother told me about you and your sons," she says, extending her
He takes her small hand between his - this sturdy man who has buried
two boys who went off to war - and listens gently as her own story of
sorrow spills forth. Her 8-year-old daughter, a traffic accident, her son
at the wheel.
As waiters bustle about with trays of huevos rancheros and barbacoa
plates, Mr. Velez does what he does best: offers up a soft prayer to help
this mother endure her emptiness.
Strangers learn about Mr. Velez from newspapers and TV. They come to
him to share their gratitude or their grief. They come to thank him and
console him, tearfully, for his family's sacrifice.
This is how Mr. Velez chooses to live after losing two sons in two
years, not riven with anger or paralyzed with sadness. But as someone ready
for those who might slip into the darkness of despair.
For his strength for others, compassion and grace - and for serving as
inspiration for anyone who knows his story - Mr. Velez is the 2006
Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year.
Because this story is so long, I've linked
to the article which you can read in it's entirety.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that
others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am
proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just
Don't Know Where To Look
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like
to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great
country, you can find out how by clicking here.