NYC schools building renamed in honor of fallen veteran from the Bronx Sgt. Jose M. Velez

ByDiana Rocco via WABC logo
Friday, November 19, 2021
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Diana Rocco has more on the New York City Department of Education administrative building that was renamed Friday in honor of a fallen local veteran.

THE BRONX (WABC) -- A New York City Department of Education administrative building was renamed Friday in honor of a local fallen veteran.

The DOE teamed up with the Department of Veterans' Services to christen the DOE's District 7 Administration Building in the Bronx for Sgt. Jose M. Velez.

"That's what today is about. It's about honoring that sacrifice, honoring that commitment and honoring the loyalty and honoring the work that so many New York City Department of Education employees, so many department of education families, and so many of our young people that have made that ultimate sacrifice," Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter said.

Velez is a Bronx native who was on patrol in Iraq in 2006 when he was killed by a roadside bomb.

He was 36 years old and left behind a wife and young children.

"From what I've been told and from what I remember he was funny and he was sweet. He always put others before himself," his daughter, Melody Velez, said.

The building represents a diverse district comprised of 41 schools.

For the children they educate, this is a teachable moment with Truman High School's honor guard leading the ceremony.

"This is what service looks like and this is what service is supposed to be about. Utilizing that to say you can be something in this particular community," Community Superintendent Rafael Alvarez said.

"We hope they remember him, as far as the life that he lived. And also the great causes that he passed forward as far as fighting for this nation. We hope they also remember the broader canvas as far as all of the other service members who fought and died for our nation," Department of Veterans' Services' James Henson said.

Velez was one of more than 90 service members from New York City who gave their lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

DVS said this is the first of many renamings to come in their honor.

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