Saturday, March 24, 2007

Angel Rosa remembered

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - They met at a restaurant. She was asking for a job application. He happened to be standing behind the desk.

From there, the relationship between Angel Rosa and wife-to-be Elise McCabe flourished. They married last May in a civil ceremony at South Portland City Hall and planned a full Catholic wedding when the Marine returned home from Iraq.

Their plans were shattered in Iraq's volatile Anbar province, where Marine Pfc. Rosa, 21, suffered fatal injuries in combat operations.

"He joined the Marines because that was going to be his way to take care of his family," said Elise Rosa, also 21. "He did it for both of us."

Wearing a T-shirt friends made for her with Rosa's face on it, Elisa Rosa said Thursday she didn't know what to feel. She said she was feeling so many emotions as she and the community grieved for the former South Portland High School soccer player and community volunteer.

Elise, who last spoke to her husband a few weeks ago, said his team, part of a forward expeditionary unit, was going on a mission that would take several days. That was the last thing she heard from him. He died on Tuesday.

She, her father and other relatives grieved at the home of Anna and Robert Bradbury, Rosa's parents. The young Marine also left behind an 18-year-old sister, Mimi Giordano, also a graduate of South Portland High School.

Angel Rosa was born in Philadelphia before moving to Puerto Rico. He was just 9 years old and unable to speak English when he came to Maine in 1994 to be reunited with his mother. Nonetheless, he quickly made friends.

At South Portland High School, he really earned his reputation on the soccer field. "As a coach, I needed to have somebody on the field that I could always count on," said former soccer coach Adam Perron. "Angel was that person."

Rosa volunteered as a referee for the city's youth soccer program. He also worked with Latino children at Sacred Heart Parish in Portland, including immigrants from El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere.

"A lot of things came easy to him," said Kathy McInnis-Misenor, Rosa's aunt and godmother. "But he was never a braggart. He was as humble a young man as you will ever meet."

After graduating from high school, Rosa worked at several restaurants including the Village Cafe, where he met Elise, as he looked for direction.

He talked about being a firefighter or police officer, and decided the Marines would be the gateway to one of those careers. He enlisted Feb. 1, 2006.

Elise said she and Angel talked a lot about the future. They stayed up late and imagined the house they would buy someday, the kids they would raise.

"When he chose to join the Marines, it was hard for some of us to know that he wouldn't be around as much," Elise said. "He saw it as a way to make sure that everyone he loved and cared about would never have anything to worry about."

From the Herald

Related Link:
Angel Rosa dies of wounds received during combat operation