Monday, August 27, 2007

Omar E. Torres dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit'

In a house on Chicago's Southwest Side, Doris and Oscar Torres received news about their son Omar, 20, who died when an improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol in Baghdad, also on Wednesday.

Torres, the son of a Chicago firefighter and the baby in the family, with siblings Oralia, 24, and Oscar Jr., 21, grew up an ardent Bears fan on the Southwest Side. Brodnick, the son of a Burbank police officer and a middle child sandwiched between two sisters, Kimber Larson, 27, and Lisa, 20, was born in Burbank and moved to Frankfort when he was 8 years old.

Torres was a fairly new recruit, having signed up for the Army in December and touched boots to the ground in Iraq as a private first class only in May.

Initially expecting to complete his tour in Iraq in June, his end date had been pushed to October.

For Torres, it was a sense of public service that captured his attention.

"As he matured, as he became more understanding of the world and politics, he started to want to be a person to cause change for the good," Ortega said.

That drive led Torres to volunteer with local politicians and, ultimately, to sign up for the military, he said.

The last time Torres talked to his family was Sunday, using a Webcam, Ortega said. He seemed in good spirits.

From the Chicago Tribune

Also grieving is the Torres family from the Southwest Side of Chicago. Omar Torres was sent to Iraq in May. He was killed while on foot patrol in Baghdad.

After graduating De La Salle High School, Torres received a full ride scholarship to Ohio State University where he joined the Army Reserves his freshman year. During his sophomore year, the student was activated and sent over seas.

"Obviously, as a family you don't want that. Every day we lit a candle," said Oralia Torres, the soldier's sister.

The soldier's family says Torres was a strong-headed young man with dreams of going into politics.

"Smart, really wise. [He] did what he had to do, and got it done," said the soldier's brother Oscar Torres.

From WLS-7