Rep. Crowley and USPS Hold Dedication Ceremony to Rename Bronx Post Office After Fallen Soldier

August 16, 2012
Press Release

(Bronx, N.Y.) – Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-the Bronx, Queens) and Bronx Postmaster Elvin Mercado held a dedication ceremony to name the post office located at 1449 West Avenue in the Bronx in honor of Private Second Class Isaac T. Cortes, an Army soldier and Bronx native who was killed in Iraq in 2007. Cortes was an infantryman in Charlie Troop, 1-71 Cavalry Squadron at Fort Drum, New York. Joining Crowley and Mercado in the ceremony were City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, U.S. Army officials, and members of Cortes’ family. Crowley and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spearheaded passage of legislation to rename the post office as the “Private Isaac T. Cortes Post Office”.

“Naming this post office after Private Cortes won’t take away the pain of losing this remarkable young man, but it will serve as a reminder to all those who pass through these doors, that Isaac Cortes was a brave soldier who served his country with integrity, courage, and commitment,” said Rep. Crowley. “A true son of the Bronx, Private Cortes embodies the very best of our community and I am proud to honor his memory and service by spearheading passage of the legislation naming this post office after him. It is an even greater honor to stand here today beside Isaac’s family and friends, to celebrate his life and legacy.”

“Not a day goes by where I don’t think of my son. I hope this dedication will keep his memory alive and allow others in the community to learn of his bravery and service,” said Emily Toro, Cortes’ mother. “I’d like to thank Congressman Crowley, Senator Gillibrand and all those who made today’s dedication possible. I know Isaac would be incredibly proud to have the post office in the neighborhood he grew up in named after him.”

“Private Cortes is truly a courageous hero,” said Senator Gillibrand. “He gave his life fighting to protect our freedom. By naming the Parkchester Post Office after Private Cortes, our nation and the Bronx community honor his heroic service and ultimate sacrifice.”

“It’s a great honor to be here today to commemorate a courageous young man who gave his life to his country to keep America safe. Isaac’s memory will not soon be forgotten. The Private Isaac T. Cortes Post Office will ensure that the sacrifices Isaac made for his country will always be remembered. When Parkchester residents send letters and packages to their loved ones abroad, they will think of Private Cortes’ service to his country and honor his memory,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.

Cortes was raised in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx and attended Christopher Columbus High School. He enlisted in the Army on November 21, 2006, completed his individual infantry training course in Fort Benning, Ga., and then moved on to Fort Drum before being deployed to Iraq in September 2007.

On November 27, 2007, Cortes was one of two soldiers killed when an improvised explosive device was detonated near his vehicle in Amerli, Iraq, approximately 100 miles north of Baghdad. In honor of his service, Cortes was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

During the ceremony, Pastor and retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Sylvia Laughlin delivered the invocation. Army 2nd Lt. Matthew Hernandez, who is in the same division at Ft. Drum as Cortes, led the presentation of colors. The National Anthem was performed by Percival Prince of the U.S. Postal Service and remarks were delivered by Rep. Crowley; Speaker Quinn; Army Col. Eluyn Ginés; Patrick Gualtieri, Executive Director of the United War Veterans Council; and Jessica Bryan, Founder of the Step Into Their Boots organization. In addition, Crowley presented a copy of the legislation honoring Cortes and the pen used by President Obama to sign the bill into law, as well as a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of Cortes to his mother, Emily Toro.

Crowley first introduced legislation to rename the post office after Cortes in September 2010 during the 111th Congress. The bill passed the House in December 2010, but the session of Congress expired before the Senate could vote on the bill. In 2011, Crowley reintroduced his bill, H.R. 3413, for the 112th Congress. The bill passed the House on March 5, 2012 and Senator Gillibrand led the successful passage of the bill through the Senate on May 18, 2012. President Obama signed the bill into law on June 5, 2012.

Congressman Crowley is a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is a chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives.