Monday, September 03, 2007

Omar Torres laid to rest

Pfc. Omar Torres, 20, died last Wednesday after being hit by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad. NBC5's Anthony Ponce reported that Torres' family and friends said Torres had an unforgettable personality.

"Even if he was getting in trouble, he always had that stupid smile on his face," said childhood friend Robert Janik. "You just had to laugh -- he always made you smile."

Frank Ward, Torres' uncle, said Torres was energetic as a child.

"He was aggressive, always, since he was a little boy," Ward said. "When he came in your house, you had to tie everything down."

Ward said his nephew used all of his energy to excel in school; in fact, he got a four-year scholarship to Ohio State and was a sophomore when he was activated.

"He said, 'My country needs me now,'" Ward said. "So, I'm proud of him. He's my hero, for sure."

Hundreds of others at his Southwest Side funeral shared that feeling, Ponce reported.

"I think the one thing about Omar is he always offered himself," said Torres' cousin, Beatrice Cuello. "No matter what the occasion, no matter what the situation was."

Family members said Torres had planned to start a career in politics.

At the service, an Army general spoke and read from a letter he had just received Thursday night from one of Torres' fellow soldiers, who was still over in Iraq. The letter said Torres was a hero not because of his death, but because of the way he lived his life.

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said Friday marked the "passing of an All-American hero."

"All his life, 20 years, he gave to others," said Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. "It's a painfully sad day for Illinois. I think all of us in our state should pray for the Torres family."

From WMAQ 5

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