EEISD to honor fallen soldier during parade Tuesday morning

Kevin Cardoza's body sits at the funeral home in Edcouch that's named after one of his relatives.

The Army Specialist arrived home a hero Monday afternoon to family, friends and members of America's Last Patrol.

"It got more to your heart," Commander Ricardo Pena said. "You're getting closer to the family and you're closer to the casket and you can see the veterans getting the casket down from the airplane."

It's the first time Pena says family members of a lost loved one to war allowed the military veterans organization to be so close to the arrival of a soldier's body.

The bus America's Last Patrol uses will also play a special role in Tuesday's parade.

"I felt an honor when the brother asked me to drive the bus in the parade," Pena said. "Basically it was going to be an all school deal. And when he told me I want you to put the bus in the parade, I told him I would be honored to do it."

The parade begins at Garcia Elementary School near the intersection of FM 1015 and Highway 107.

Students will be able to pay their final respects in honor of the fallen soldier as the parade continues to every campus across the district.

Flags will be flying at half staff at all eight schools.

Superintendent Dr. Richard Rivera wants his students and staff to recognize the sacrifice their son made, as he puts it, when the procession for the 2011 Edcouch Elsa High School graduate begins at 9am.

"Our hearts are with the family because they lost a loved one and so did our district," Dr. Rivera said.

The parade will end at Edcouch Elsa High School before moving on to Trinity Worship Center in Pharr.

That TMs where a public memorial will take place for the 19-year-old Cardoza.

His burial will be on Wednesday at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission.

The family wants his burial to be private.

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