Highway dedication honors Mansfield hero

Local

The town of Mansfield honors their fallen hero.

He was a Green Beret solider who died in Afghanistan in 2013, but after a ceremony on Monday, his name living on forever in his hometown.

It was a moving ceremony where the small town came together to dedicate a part of Highway 171 in honor of Army Staff Sergeant Richard Vazquez. 

“From a young age everyone knew Richard was meant for something greater. His sense of adventure and strive to always be the best lead him on his path to always be a soldier and not just any soldier. He wanted to be the best of the best, an Army Green Beret,” said Christine Vazquez, sister of SSG Richard Vazquez.

In a touching speech to her community, the older sister of Sergeant Vazquez, said it means everything to have his sacrifice remembered. 

“It did it because he wanted to be a soldier not for any fame or glory. You ask any of these Green Berets around here, they live a life of secrecy and they do all of this behind closed doors. We don’t really know what they do, but what they do is really important,” Christine Vazquez said.

Christine said her brother always had a soldier’s spirit that he took with him the day he died in Kandahar Providence in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked with an IED. He was 28 and on his third tour. 

“He knew the dangers that came with that green felted beret and honestly I think that danger is what drove him. That what’s drove his spirit. He loved doing what he did and he was good at doing what did. And I’m so incredibly honored to be his sister,” Vazquez said.

His name will now always be seen driving into Mansfield as the state officially names part of Highway 171 in his honor.

“People are going to see the name and look him up and he’ll be remembered forever so even when we pass, he’ll still be remembered,” Vazquez said.

His family was awarded a medal by the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.

They were also given a helmet by his fellow Green Berets, that Richard used to wear. Christine said that touched her the most because it’s like having a little piece of him.

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