BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — After 9/11, Jose Ruiz volunteered for the Army. After multiple tours in Iraq, he died a hero, protecting his squadron in battle.
Now, his bravery and selflessness will live on, as his local post office has been renamed in his honor, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.
Congressman Peter King told Ruiz’s proud parents that both sides of aisle in Washington were able to put politics aside and overwhelmingly approve the plan in honor of their hero son from long Island.
“Not much we agree on, but everyone agreed on this,” Rep. King said. “Totally appropriate that we do agree and it was signed by the President of the United States.”
Ruiz, a computer specialist was inspired to volunteer for the Army after the 2001 attacks. He served with distinction, earning nine prestigious medals for courage, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Two weeks before his final tour, Ruiz was killed in an historic gun battle in Mosul in 2005. His baby daughter was just weeks old.
“To the country, he’s a hero, but to his family he will forever be a prince,” said Eduardo King, Ruiz’s father.
Ruiz’s family members said he told anyone who would listen about the pride he had in Brentwood, crediting his teachers, pastors and community leaders.
Web Extra: Dedication Ceremony For Lius Ruiz
Feelings of achievement were not lost on the orchestra and choir from Brentwood High School, which performed Monday. His parents said they wept humble tears of joy at their son’s influence in their hometown.
“Always told me, ‘Mom, I’m going to make you proud of me,’ and I know he would say ‘wow’ to all this — the dedication of the Brentwood Post Office and all that has been done to honor him in such a special way,” said Ruiz’s mother, Juliana King.
He paid the ultimate sacrifice, but has a legacy that will be honored here for generations.
Ruiz was an elite member of the Stryker Combat Brigade when his heroism earned him the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.