Memorial honors fallen Southwest Florida soldiers

Specialist Carlos Negron of the U.S. Army died on July 10, 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. He was a part of the 101st Airborne Division and stationed in Fort Campbell, Ken.

“He was 40 years old and was killed 40 days after he left,” said his wife, Celinette Gonzalez.

Negron was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He later moved to New Jersey, where he met his wife. The couple moved to Orlando, and then Southwest Florida.

He left behind his wife, Celinette and four sons, Anthony, 16, Giovanny, 14, Angel, 8, and Jayden, 2.

“He was a great father, Gonzalez said. “There are so many words you could say.”

Negron had re-enlisted in 2008 due to the economy. He overcame Type 2 diabetes and Celinette said,

“He was so strong.”

Lee County Sheriff’s Office adopted five families this past Christmas, providing a dinner and toys for the kids. Thanks to officer Bobby Hunter, Negron’s family was one of them. There were 25 bricks laid on Monday in honor or memory of veterans.

Retired law enforcement officer and chairman of the Veteran’s Advisory Committee, Dave Grossi was told about Negron’s family. Grossi and his wife, Anne, donated two bricks in the Riverside Park’s Veteran Walkway in memory of Negron.

“I can’t think of a better family to donate the bricks to,” said Grossi.

Grossi said although he didn’t personally know Negron, he had “kind of a kindred connection” to him. They both honed some of their soldier skills at Fort Campell. Grossi trained there as an Air Gorce ranger.

Stan Fischer, 85, a World War II veteran came to see his brick laid on the walkway.

“It’s a nice commemoration of people and their service,” said wife, Charlotte Fischer.

The goal for Riverside Park’s Veteran’s Walkway is to gather the money donated from the bricks to build a monument for all branches of the military.

On one of the bricks, in memory of Negron, it reads “Air Assault 6/2008 — 7/2010 Broken Heart.”

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