Fort Buchanan Running Track Memorialization - Dedication Ceremony
By Rosie Irizarry, Public Affairs SpecialistJuly 23, 2020
FORT BUCHANAN, PR -- Fort Buchanan Garrison Commander Col. Joseph B. Corcoran III hosted a Memorialization – Dedication Ceremony of a recently renovated running track in Fort Buchanan, in honor of the late Command Sgt. Maj. Wilfredo Vélez Flores, of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard July 14, 2020.In attendance were 81st Readiness Division (81st RD) Commanding General and Fort Buchanan Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Kenneth D. Jones accompanied by his spouse Cheryl; 81st RD Command Sgt. Maj. Levi G. Maynard; Adjutant General of the Puerto Rico National Guard (PRNG) Maj. Gen. José J. Reyes; State Command Sgt. Maj. Andrés Ruiz; US Army Reserve 1st Mission Support Command (1st MSC) Commanding General Brig. Gen. Jeffrey W. Jurasek; 1st MSC Command Sgt. Maj. Robert B. Breck; PRNG Land Component Commander Brig. Gen. Miguel A. Méndez; Garrison Commander Col. Corcoran; Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. José A. Banks; former Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Heriberto Quintana and Deputy to the Garrison Commander Derrick W. Hood.Command Sgt. Maj. Luis R. Cora with the PRNG 125th MP Battalion presented Command Sgt. Maj. Vélez’ military history. Vélez entered the service April 1997 serving for 23 years in several units within the PRNG while also deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom among other support operations. At the time of his passing, Vélez was the PRNG G-3 Command Sergeant Major and Command Sgt. Maj. for the 130th Engineer Battalion.Special honoree for this solemn event was Command Sgt. Maj. Vélez’ widow, Marielis Matos, their three children, Wilmari Gabriela, Mariana De Los Angeles and Wilfredo Gabriel as well as their two grandchildren Derrell Gabriel and Mateo Nicolás.Former Fort Buchanan Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Heriberto Quintana, who spearheaded the initiative to dedicate this running track to Vélez provided special remarks on behalf of Col. Corcoran.“I’m honored to have been asked to take part in this dedication ceremony and its most fitting tribute to a senior non-commissioned officer. The dedication of this beautiful running track represents what CSM Vélez believed in,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Quntana.“I know this is befitting of CSM Velez who loved running and loved this installation. I hope that many generations of service members will do the same, meeting their fitness and readiness needs here, in order to fight and win this nations battles. CSM Vélez made an instant impact in my life and Soldiers in Fort Buchanan. I am grateful for his friendship and his contributions to our community,” concluded Quintana.Quintana also thanked PRNG G-3-5-7 Sergeant Major, Sgt. Maj. Reynaldo Soto and his staff for working with him on this project and assisting in its accomplishment.A bronze plaque on a pedestal and an area sign were unveiled by the Vélez family, Command Sgt. Maj. Quintana and Command Sgt. Maj. Ruiz.“Today is a special day for everyone; for our family, for his friends, and for his life-long comrades. It is fitting to be here, where he so loved coming every day. Today our family is beyond grateful with this beautiful homage to our beloved Command Sergeant Major Wilfredo Vélez,” said Marielis Matos. “Everyone who steps onto this track will know who Wilfredo Vélez was. His legacy and memory will live on forever. My husband loved the United States Army,” concluded Matos.“Today is a special day for the Puerto Rico National Guard as we celebrate Command Sgt. Maj. Vélez life. He left a significant imprint in the Puerto Rico National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Reyes. “To the Vélez family know that you are part of the extended PRNG family and we will always be here to support you all,” concluded Reyes.CSM Wilfredo Vélez-Flores Running Track is located next to the Automotive Skills Center.