ALAMO, N.M. - Navajo Nation Vice President Ben Shelly and Miss Navajo Nation Jonathea Tso joined the Alamo community Jan. 5 to honor U.S. Army Specialist Lawrence Guerro, an active duty soldier of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regional of the 10th Mountain Division.
During a mission in Baghdad, Iraq in May 2007, Guerro's armored unit was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED).
Guerro, who joined the Army in October 2005, suffered the loss of most of his right leg. He was given a customized titanium-made leg and has been completing physical rehabilitation since then.
Vice President Shelly thanked Guerro's wife, Karrie Guerro, and their family for the support they gave him and for the sacrifice he endured.
On behalf of Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., he also thanked Guerro for his "courage, commitment, commitment on the frontline, and his willingness to give and bear the ultimate sacrifice so that freedom will always exist on the land and the Diné Way of Life will be protected."
The Vice President assured the Alamo community that the Navajo Nation government is working to assist those who served in the armed forces, especially those returning from warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"A lot of our veterans don't have homes, don't have running water and electricity," he said. "Why is it we are not getting all of that? Yet they go to service and defend a nation. And they come back physically harmed."
Last year, President Shirley and Vice President Shelly proposed the creation of a government-sanctioned department for Navajo veterans - the Navajo Nation Division of Veterans Services.
"We are doing something on behalf of veterans," Vice President Shelly said. "You are not forgotten, all of the veterans from the community of Alamo."
The proposed division would assist Navajo veterans with direct services, such as housing services, loan services, memorial services, and traditional Navajo wellness support.
Vice President Shelly encouraged Guerro to use his skills and to continue to be independent and self-sufficient.
"When you get out of service, use what you learned in the service," he said.
"Give what you were taught. We want you to start to make use of that knowledge. We need to do something for ourselves to support one another, and I am hoping that you do come back and that you add input into your community."
Miss Navajo Nation Jonathea Tso thanked Guerro as a relative for his service. She shared a traditional Navajo song that "speaks about the prayers and the good life we want to live."
Lawrence Guerro's brother, Johnny Henderson, and mother Marie Guerro organized the event with the help of the Alamo Chapter, Alamo School Board, and Navajo Nation Council Delegates George Apachito and Larry Noble.
The Navajo Honor Riders and Navajo Nation Council Delegate Danny Simpson and David Shondee joined the Alamo community in honoring Guerro.
For more information, contact executive assistant Sherrick S. Roanhorse in the Office of the Vice President at (928) 871-7003.