Fallen warrior is honored with Soldier’s Medal

| January 31, 2014 | 0 Comments
Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, commander, 25th ID, presents the Soldier’s Medal to Spc. Raelani Quintanilla, signals specialist, HHC, 2nd SBCT, 25th ID,  for the heroic actions taken by her husband, Spc. Jeremias Ortiz, that resulted in his death.

Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, commander, 25th ID, presents the Soldier’s Medal to Spc. Raelani Quintanilla, signals specialist, HHC, 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, for the heroic actions taken by her husband, Spc. Jeremias Ortiz, that resulted in his death.

Sgt. Daniel Johnson
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — A young widow stood at the podium in tears.

“I always felt safe just being by his side,” she said.

It was clear her loss was immense and devastating. Her husband was being awarded the Army’s highest possible honor during peacetime.

The 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, held a ceremony the morning of Jan. 24 at Weyand Field, here, to honor Spc. Jeremias Ortiz, a Soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice to save the life of his wife, Spc. Raelani Quintanilla, a signal support specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd SBCT.

Ortiz lost his life June 1, 2013, during a home invasion. He and Quintanilla were upstairs in their home when they heard a noise from the first floor. Ortiz, armed with a handgun, confronted the intruder, who was also armed.

After a short exchange, a firefight ensued, and Ortiz received two fatal gunshots to the neck while returning effective fire on the intruder and protecting his wife.

“It’s hard sometimes realizing that he’s actually gone,” said Quintanilla. “Even though I’ve seen what I’ve seen its still feels surreal.”

Soldier's-Medal_ko

“The Soldier’s Medal is the Army’s most prestigious peacetime award for valor and is but a small token to offer for the willing sacrifice Spc. Ortiz made for his wife,” said Col. Thomas Mackey, commander, 2nd SBCT.

The ceremony was more than just an awards presentation. Ortiz was a hero, and this ceremony allowed everyone to know more about him.

“His personality was so captivating that he would draw people in and make instant connections with them everywhere we went,” said Quintanilla. “My husband was the type of person that would’ve risked his life to save a stranger. He always wanted to help others even if it meant giving the shirt off his back. I always felt safe and empowered just being by his side.”

“Spc. Ortiz’ actions are an example for Soldiers everywhere,” said Mackey. “He responded as we hope we would all respond if we were faced with a similar threat. That is what the Soldiers Medal is about, true personal courage in the face of danger or adversity.”

As the tears began to subside, Quintanilla shared a personal message to her husband.

“Our love was a true test of faith, and I am so proud and honored to be your wife. You are my angel, and I am so thankful that God blessed me with you,” Quintanilla said.

“I can still see and hear your beautiful voice and laugh … that captivating smile that instantly warms my heart and radiates my soul. I will carry you with me till we meet again. I will love you forever and always,” she said.

 

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