A street in Washington Heights was co-named Sunday to honor a soldier from the neighborhood who was killed while on a tour of duty in Iraq. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Sergeant Jose Enrique Ulloa died in Iraq in 2008, killed by a roadside bomb in Sadr City. The pain of that loss for his family is still evident.
"We mourn the man who's gone, whom we lost so tragically, but we remember him, and remember above all that he would want us to remember him as he lived, on the fearless edge of what was possible," said Stephanie Marmol, Ulloa's niece.
Now, people in his Washington Heights neighborhoods will have a permanent reminder. West 177th Street and Audubon Avenue is now known as Sergeant Jose Enrique Ulloa Way.
City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan says that it's especially important for children to know about Ulloa's sacrifice.
"Through this location, thousands of young people, they go to school from elementary, middle and high school, and I believe it is important that our young people going to school remember someone that dedicated his life serving this country," Rodriguez said.
The co-naming brought hundreds out to celebrate, remember and reflect.
Ulloa grew up in the Dominican Republic before coming to the U.S. and joining the Army. Friends and family called him Ricky. They say he was honored to represent his homeland wherever he was.
"We are proud to be here in America and not forgot where we coming from, and that's what Ricky did all the time," said Agustin Ulloa, Jose Enrique Ulloa's cousin. "He went to Germany, and over there, he was proud to be a sergeant and Dominican."
The crowd released balloons to send their message far beyond this street corner, but it's the permanent reminder of the sign that family members are proud will last forever.
"Kids can learn that this country, and the immigrants, are here, and they're giving their lives," Marmol said. "Sometimes, it's not even worth it, but they'll look at him as a hero, so it means a lot."
The family said that while nothing will bring Sergeant Ulloa back, at least now, he'll never be forgotten.