Marines from New York and Connecticut gathered at American Legion Post 620, in the Bronx, for a luncheon to honor the family of Cpl. Ramona M. Valdez on Saturday, October 27, 2018. Cpl. Valdez, who grew up in the Bronx, was killed in Iraq in 2005 when a suicide bomber attacked her convoy. One year ago, the Women Marines Association established a chapter in her name. The Women Marines Association NY-6 Cpl. Ramona M. Valdez Chapter covers the five boroughs, as well as Westchester, Rockland and Dutchess counties.
Chapter President Colleen McCarthy, welcomed everyone to the luncheon and directed everyone’s attention to a Marine Corps color guard presentation of the colors performed by Marines from the 1st Marine Corps District. Cpl. Ramona M. Valdez’s family and recruiter, Gunnery Sgt. Marcos Rodriguez (ret), were in attendance. A Gold Star Mother, Emily Toro, presented her mother Elida Nunez and sister Fiorela Valdez with a handmade quilt sewn to honor servicemembers who were killed in action.
Guest speaker Sgt. Major Jamie DePaola (ret), talked about the important role women play in the Corps today and how far women have come since they were first allowed to enlist in 1918 to support WWI. Celebrating 100 years of women in the Marine Corps and honoring Cpl. Valdez’s sacrifice made the luncheon an emotional and special time.
Members of WMA NY-6 have pledged to keep Cpl. Valdez’s memory alive in the community by supporting veteran programs and helping homeless female veterans in the area.