HOMESTEAD, FL, U.S.A.
U.S. MARINE CORPS
CPL, 3D CAB,(RCT-3,2D MEB FWD), 3D MAR DIV, OKINAWA, JAPAN
08/06/2009, FARAH PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
CPL Christian Guzman Rivera graduated from Homestead Senior High School in 2006 where he was enrolled in the ROTC program. He went on to train as an EMT and graduated from the Miami-Dade Fire Academy. His goal was to become a firefighter.
Because Christian thrived on challenges, he joined the Marines with some friends. The Marine Corps was a good choice for him. He was proud of what he was doing and wanted to do in the Marine Corps. Christian tried to reassure his mother every time he talked with her that he would be careful, and would say, “Don’t worry. I’ll be alright.”
Christian was outgoing, fun and extremely competitive. He loved to spend time with his friends and would tease his brother about the heavy weights he could lift – he also enjoyed playing paintball.
Christian’s uncle made a plea – “to everybody out there – every time you see a service man – say thank you. Thank you for the service you’ve done.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami explained that, “Velma Torres, Christian’s mother, is a strong woman, beautiful inside and outside who keeps in contact with the family. “I’m so impressed that all members of the family are volunteering. They are an example, an inspiration.”
The congresswoman said that both Mrs. Torres and her husband, Félix, Christian’s stepfather, never miss a patriotic, military or veterans event in Miami-Dade County and always wear T-shirts with their fallen son’s image. “The way I see it is that now I’m not only Christian’s mother, but the mother of a national hero,” Mrs Torres says. “This carries a responsibility before the community and the world.”
“My son’s story has been an inspiration to other people, has opened people’s eyes.”
Her most valuable memento is a burned military dog tag that Guzmán carried with him when his Humvee blew up. Mrs. Torres desperately wanted this memento. A Facebook message from a woman who wanted to tell her something about her son brought the dog tag to Mrs. Torres. The soldier worked as a mechanic on destroyed vehicles. The soldier explained that after working on one of the totaled Humvees she heard a voice that said, “Search.” She kept searching and found Guzman’s dog tag. “I know this was his present,” says Mrs. Torres.