His motto was Go Big, Or Go Home.
Army Private Second Class Issac Cortes, killed in Iraq in a roadside attack on his Humvee 100 miles north of Baghdad in November 2007, will now be remembered in a really big way in his Parkchester community.
The 26-year-old solider was memorialized Thursday, August 16 as his mother Emily Toro, father Isaias Cortes, and Congressman Joseph Crowley unveiled a plaque renaming the Parkchester Post Office at 1449 West Avenue in his name.
“Naming this post office after Private Cortes won’t take away the pain of losing a remarkable young man, but it will serve as a reminder to all those who pass through these doors, that Issac Cortes was a brave solider who served his country with integrity, courage, and commitment,” said Crowley as friends, family, and advocates for military families looked on.
Cortes was an infantryman in Charlie Troop 1-71 Cavalry Squadron, out of Fort Drum New York.
Crowley, who pushed through the federal legislation to rename the post office, called Cortes “A true son of the Bronx,” who “embodies the very best of our community.”
Crowley called Cortes a highly remarkable young man and recalled how neighbors said he was always willing to help carry groceries or hold open a door. He called Cortes a “son of the Bronx,” and noted that he attended local public schools including Columbus High School and worked as a security guard at Yankee Stadium.
In remarks, Cortes’ mother said that she was astounded by what her son accomplished and also said that he had lived out his purpose.
“Not a day goes by where I don’t think of my son,” said Toro. “I hope this dedication will keep his memory alive and allow others in the community to learn of his bravery and service.”
Issac would have been incredibly proud of having the post office named after him, said Toro.
In an interview after the ceremony, Toro said that she thought the post office being renamed for her son, her “gentle giant,” would not only help remember him, but also all of the military members who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The law that President Obama signed renaming the post office the “Private Issac T. Cortes Post Office” was spearheaded by Crowley in the House of Representatives and carried U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate.
Also in attendance and speaking at the ceremony were U.S. Army officials, representatives from the Veterans Parade Committee in Manhattan, a group of veterans from Columbia University, a group of Gold Star Moms, members of Step Into Their Boots.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393