Military Mum on Death of Waxahachie Soldier

Family trying to learn more after soldier dies in Afghanistan

By Amanda Fitzpatrick
|  Tuesday, Apr 19, 2011  |  Updated 2:03 PM CDT
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The family of 22-year-old Army PVT Joel Ramirez say he was killed over the weekend in Afghanistan but say the Department of Defense is not releasing information.

Amanda Fitzpatrick, NBCDFW.com

The family of 22-year-old Army PVT Joel Ramirez say he was killed over the weekend in Afghanistan but say the Department of Defense is not releasing information.

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The family of a Waxahachie soldier killed in Afghanistan this weekend says it is having a tough time getting information about his death.

The father of Pfc. Joel Ramirez said two Army officials came to his home and told him his son had been killed. But he said he hasn't heard much since then.

"I don't know, exactly. I don't know because I don't know exactly what is the real truth," Chano Ramirez said.

The Department of Defense has not yet publicly identified Ramirez as a casualty.

Chano Ramirez said he was told that his son was killed in an explosion while doing night patrols in Afghanistan. His son had been in Afghanistan for only one month.

"I want to remember him as a son that never quit, [a] hard worker [who] never surrendered, and he loved me too much," he said. "I loved him too much. I'm very proud of him."

Joel Ramirez's younger brother, Daniel, said the thought of his brother's death makes him feel ill.

"I feel like there's a constant pain in my chest that I can't alleviate," he said. "I can't -- there's nothing I can do right now to make that pain go away."

Joel Ramirez graduated from Waxahachie High School in 2007. His parents, Chano and Irma, worked at the school for nearly a decade.

The community also coping with the news of his death.

School officials have began raising money for the family. They plan to have a memorial service for their son in Waxahachie and also fly his remains to Mexico for burial, a cost the Army may not pay for.

Neel Brown, Waxahachie High School assistant principal, said everyone wants to help.

"This family is loved by the school and the district and the community, and the outpouring has been unbelievable," he said. "So many people want to help and do whatever they can for this family."

Ramirez is survived by his 2-year-old daughter, his parents, two sisters and a brother.

He had been in the U.S. Army for one year.

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