Monday, August 06, 2007

Camy Florexil remembered

Army Spec. Camy Florexil - who yesterday was being praised on the Internet as a "true American hero" - was a man who went to war but wasn't a fighter, his family said.

"He was quiet, and a good student," said his aunt Marie Gerda-Pierre. "He was so soft. . . . He was an artist who was interested in sketching and computers.

"He spent hours in front of the computer."

The 20-year-old infantryman, who surprised family members when he enlisted nearly two years ago, died July 24, a day after an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad. He had been in Iraq five months.

Gerda-Pierre learned of her nephew's death on Tuesday and had the task of informing his mother, Carol Florexil, who lives in her native Haiti.

"I told his mother she should be proud anyway. He didn't die by doing bad stuff. He wasn't hanging on the corner doing illegal stuff," Gerda-Pierre said. "He was fighting for the freedom of those people."

Although he was a native-born American, Florexil spent the first few years of his life in Haiti because his mother had been forced to return.

After a few years in Port-au-Prince, his mother - who was unable to come back to the United States - made the gut-wrenching decision to part with Camy and his older sister, Emanuela. She sent them to stay with Gerda-Pierre in Northeast Philadelphia.

"Their mother wanted the best for them," Gerda-Pierre said.

Florexil lived with his aunt from the fifth grade at Thomas Finletter Elementary School to the 11th grade at Swenson Arts and Technology High School, at which point he moved in with his sister.

He joined the Army in September 2005 and was assigned to the First Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, Fourth Infantry Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer

Related Link:
Camy Florexil dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations'