By: Sharon Aron Baron
The City of Tamarac along with the Veterans Affairs Committee will hold its Memorial Day Service to honor all Americans who made the supreme sacrifice with their unselfish devotion in order to defend our heritage of liberty and justice for all.
This year’s keynote speaker will be United States Army Master Sergeant Rafael Ortiz.
Throughout his 22-year Army career, Master Sergeant (retired) Rafael A. Ortiz distinguished himself serving the United States of America in the US Army with the highest degree of honor by displaying exceptional and meritorious conduct amid a succession of challenging positions.
He fully understood the great importance and responsibility bestowed upon him from maintaining the Army’s Airborne Infantry Regiment by serving as a Squad Infantry Leader who jumped into combat with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team on March 26, 2003. His success, integrity, and dedication have led to a career culminating as a Brigade Senior Career Counselor for the 6th Recruiting Brigade, where he faithfully served as a trusted advisor to leaders, and a mentor to soldiers.
Master Sergeant Ortiz has served with the 2nd Brigade Parachutist Infantry Regiment, 4/325 Airborne Battalion, and 82nd Airborne Division, A CO., 1-508th Airborne Infantry Battalion, 1st Brigade PIR, B CO., 3-504 Battalion, and 82nd Airborne Division, the 173rd Airborne Combat Team, 20th Engineer Airborne Brigade, the 525 Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. Amid these many assignments Master Sergeant Ortiz’ warrior spirit has never wavered as he displayed courage and selfless service throughout almost five years of operational deployments. He served in support of the Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. His outstanding performance, inspirational leadership, and steadfast devotion to duty resulted in continuous success wherever he served no matter what hardship ensued.
He was on his way to his last promotion and serve another 10 years of active duty but instead chose to retire to find a way to intervene with our war fighters to do everything he can to provide the best mental health treatment, family counseling, and financial planning to our American war fighters.
Winners of the “What Memorial Day Means to Me” school essay contest will also be recognized from local elementary schools: Tamarac, Challenger and Renaissance Charter. Also, the award-winning JP Taravella High School band will be playing.
The ceremony will be held on Monday, May 28th, 10:30 a.m. Come shake the hands of our heroes who served our country at Veterans Memorial Park located at 7825 Southgate Boulevard. Refreshments served afterwards.