Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Joe Charfauros laid to rest

SAIPAN -- Army Spc. Joe Junior G. Charfauros was laid to rest yesterday, a day after the arrival of his remains on his home island of Rota.

Close to 500 Rota residents attended the memorial service, weeping as they paid their last respects to the fallen soldier, who left behind three children and wife Stellita.

Military Veterans Affairs Office Executive Officer Ruth Coleman said the remains were brought to the San Francisco de Borja Church at 7:30 a.m. where a holy Rosary and public viewing were held.

A tribute was held for the fallen soldier at 9:30 a.m., with Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez leading a presentation ceremony inside the church. Villagomez, together with wife Margaret and Special Assistant for Administration Esther Fleming, presented two plaques of appreciation to both Charfauros' parents and wife for his services to the nation.
"He was a good man, he was a good soldier, and he gave the best of himself when he risked his life in the Iraqi conflict," Villagomez said.

He said he learned that Charfauros, 33, was always there for his family.

"Charfauros will always be fondly remembered by family and friends during gatherings at the ranch or at the beach," Villagomez said. "In making the difficult decision to go on active duty to provide for his wife and children, he again proved that, even if he were far away, he could be counted on and would still be there for his family."

Rota Mayor Joseph Inos presented a plaque to the Charfauros family, while the 15th Legislature presented a House resolution.
In his homily, Father Luis Antonelli commended Charfauros' parents for raising a good child. Charfauros was an altar boy.

A eulogy was also provided by Charfauros' cousin, who called the fallen soldier his best friend.

Coleman said the speeches were "very moving." She said she was impressed with the support of hundreds of people from Rota who all showed their sympathy and care for the grieving family of the fallen soldier.

"The ceremony was held beautifully for Joe Junior," she said.

Right after the tribute, a procession was held going to Charfauros' final resting place at the St. Joseph Cemetery in Songsong Village.

Adjutant General for Guam National Guard Major Gen. Donald Goldhorn presented the U.S. flag to Charfauros' mother, Annie, while Villagomez presented the CNMI flag.

Coleman described the scene during the interment as "humbling and very touching." She said Rota proved that its people are united, especially when fellow citizens need support.
Other government officials -- Sen. Paul Manglona, Washington Rep. Pete A. Tenorio's staff Clare Sablan and Annie Teregeyo, veterans from Rota, and VFW Post 3457 --also attended the memorial service.

Hundreds of people lined up along the airport road and waved U.S. and CNMI flags to welcome the fallen soldier last Sunday.

Charfauros was one of four U.S. soldiers killed on June 20 in Baghdad, Iraq, following injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device that blew up near their vehicle. The soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Steward, Georgia.

Charfauros is also survived by his three children--Mikeangela, Junelle and Joe II.

Joe Junior was a police officer on Rota. He enlisted in the military last year. He last went home to Rota in December 2006 for his wedding.

Charfauros is the third CNMI soldier to die in Iraq this year and is the sixth death of a CNMI resident in the war, following the deaths of Sgt. Yihjyh "Eddie" Chen, Staff Sgt. Wilgene Lieto, Cpl. Derence Jack, Lance Cpl. Adam Quitugua Emul, and Cpl. Lee Roy Camacho.

From the Pacific Daily News

Related Link:
Joe G. Charfauros Jr. dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'