PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - A fallen military hero’s memory will be kept alive in Pembroke Pines in a special way.
Juan Restrepo was an American soldier who died while serving in Afghanistan, but before the military, he grew up in Pembroke Pines and attended Flannigan High School. Now, a street will be dedicated in his name.
Restrepo’s family and friends were present at a ceremony, Friday, as officials presented them with the newly named Northwest 129th Avenue street sign: “Private Juan Sebastián Restrepo Avenue.”
Restrepo’s mother, Marcela Pardo, beamed with pride throughout the ceremony.
“This is like a dream to me. I feel that he’s here right now with us,”
Restrepo was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2007, when his unit was ambushed by Taliban insurgents. An award-winning documentary was made, named “Restrepo,” following his platoon for one year.
Pembroke Pines Police Officer Christina Cruz saw the documentary and felt it the city needed to honor his service in a permanent way.
“It pulled on my heart strings, and I Googled and Googled. I wanted to find out what happened with the soldiers, and I was able to determine that Restrepo was from my hometown,” Cruz said.
The detective created a Go Fund Me page with the goal of bringing Restrepo’s family to Pembroke Pines from Colombia. “There are no words to express all the feelings I’m feeling right now,” said Restrepo’s mother, Marcela Pardo, “how grateful I am with all the people that got this together. This tribute to my son is the most wonderful thing I have heard of in many, many years.”
Restrepo had a daughter before his death, named Ariana, who is now 9 years old. She was also at the ceremony to see her father honored.
Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis said the sign will serve as a reminder for anyone driving by the high school.
“Private Restrepo is a hero. Now everybody that drives by Flannigan High School, where he went, will be able to see his name, the new name of 129th and Private Restrepo Ave.,” Ortis said.
The Department of Transportation approved the sign, which will soon be put into place.
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