KSLA Salutes: Highway renamed for ArkLaTex Soldier KIA

Highway renamed in honor of SSG Vazquez

DESOTO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Dozens of people gathered in front of the DeSoto Parish Courthouse Monday afternoon, braving the scorching temperatures, to honor a man who served and lost his life fighting for our country.

"From a young age everyone knew Richard was meant for something great. His sense of adventure and strive to always be the best led him on his path to become a soldier, and not just any soldier, he wanted to be the best of the best, an army Green Beret," his sister Christine Vazquez speaking on behalf of the family left not a dry eye in the crowd.

"If he were here today he would say he was just doing his job, but the fact of the matter is he had the courage for that job. He will forever stand amongst those brave souls to sacrifice all their freedoms we as Americans joy every day."

With the help of those men he served alongside, his family unveiled the signs that renamed a portion of Highway 175,  nearly a 10 mile stretch, from I-49 to the city limits of Mansfield as the SSG Richard Lee Vazquez Memorial Highway.

"Honor and pride that sums it all up. Just the pride of the small town getting together making something like this happen." expressed Vazquez.

It's been nearly five years since Staff Sergeant Richard Vazquez lost his life while on deployment in Afghanistan, he was 28 years old.

"He like the brave before him, answered uncle Sam's call of duty and never looked back," she continued.

Before it was over. there was one special surprise in store.

"Throughout training he would use a specific climbing helmet and after he fell in Afghanistan the team kind of enshrined it that helmet was set aside," said a member of the special operations unit about Vazquez's additional training as an Army Mountaineer.

His helmet, remained unused in his unit, until Monday when they presented it to his family.

"To see this kind of public support is really something special and clearly the town area really came together to honor and support the Vazquez family," echoed the unit spokesperson.

"We humbly stand here today overwhelmingly honored and profoundly proud of our small town of family and friends. Not a day goes by Richard is not in our thoughts, and to know so many of you think of him and love him too delights our hearts," his sister closed.

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