TOA BAJA, PR, USA
SGT, TROOP A, 2D SQUADRON, 12TH CAVALRY REGIMENT, FORT BLISS, TX
BAGHDAD, IRAQ 03/17/2007
Army Sergeant Ed Santini was from Baja, Puerto Rico. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. He died on March 17, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations. Three other soldiers were also killed. Ed Santini was twenty-five years old.
Nayomi Santini was only four years old when her father Ed Santini was killed. She and her mother Astrid gather strength and comfort from the portrait given to them by artist and Fallen Heroes Project founder, Michael Reagan. They will tell you that the portrait is magical to them and makes their son and father look alive. For the moments they look at the portrait the feel that he is with them and the reminder of his presence is comforting and reassuring.
CNN did an article on Michael Reagan who related his experience as he worked to complete Ed Santini’s portrait. The artist says he gains a connection with his subject by reading articles and information about the service member. It is often said that the eyes are the windows to your soul, so it is no wonder that Michael began the portrait fo Ed Santini with Ed’s eyes. Ed’s portrait is one of over a thousand faces who tell their stories through the pencil lines and shading.
Army National Guard Brigadier General Roberto Marrero escorted Astrid Santini, the pregnant wife of Sergeant Santini as his remains were returned to his native Puerto Rico on March 23, 2007. It was the coming arrival of Ed’s first child along with his mother’s advice that his job at a fast-food restaurant would not get his family ahead led Sergeant Santini to enlist in the Army. He was twenty years old when he enlisted.