Fallen Soldiers Project Honors Late Latino Solider
Artist Phil Taylor is using his talent to touch people's lives though the American Fallen Soldiers Project.
Taylor painted a portrait of Staff Sgt. Alex Jimenez, a Dominican-American soldier who died in May 2007 when his platoon in Iraq was ambushed by insurgents. Following the attack, he was captured and killed, along with Private Byron Fouty and Private 1st Class Joseph Anzack. However, Jimenez's family did not hear anything about him until 18 months later.
To help ease the family's pain, Taylor created a beautiful portrait of Jimenez
"It's emotional when I see him," said his mother, Maria Jimenez, to Fox News Latino. "It's just like if he was still alive."
She went on to describe when and how she found out that her son was killed.
"It was terrible. I was outside, grocery shopping. When I came (back), my sister told me, 'Three soldiers from the Army were taken,'" Maria said. "It was very hard to handle. ... It's our son."
Even before Jimenez enlisted in the Army at the age of 18, Maria said it was his longtime dreamed to join the military and serve the country. He even wrote a letter when he was living in the Dominican Republic to ask the U.S. Army to let him serve and help others.
"When he told me, I immediately asked him why he didn't choose a different career path," she said. "He told me, 'No mom. This is the career that I love, and I will go to Lawrence, Massachusetts to enlist.'"
By the age of 25, he was promoted to staff sergeant.
"I was proud of him. He achieved something that he wanted to accomplish," his younger brother Andy Jimenez told FNL. "He always used to tell me, follow your heart, do what you think is right for yourself, make yourself happy.
"I am so proud of him. (Alex) wanted to be a hero and do this. That was his thing."
Eight years later, the staff sergeant's family now have a piece of the fallen hero to keep with them at home thanks to Taylor's painting, which was presented to the family at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan.
"It was very emotional to see the picture -- it was like they brought him home," Maria Jimenez said. "It was very emotional. The whole family was together looking at the picture, crying. It was very emotional."
Andy also praised Taylor for his attention to detail and life-like painting of his brother.
"It brought comfort to us as a family," he said.
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