Search underway for families of Weslaco's 49 fallen military heroes
The historical landmark in Weslaco known as El Tinaco will soon transform into a tower of honor, paying tribute to the city's 49 servicemen and women who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Mario Ybarra Jr, a local advocate for the military community, contacted a few of the families of Weslaco's 49, and together they came up with the idea.
Among the 49 is Ybarra Jr's father, Mario Ybarra, who served in the Marines from 1962 to 1966; he died in Vietnam during Operation Utah, at the age of 23 and eight days before his son's first birthday.
As a Gold Star son, Ybarra Jr. said he wants all servicemen and women who died in combat to be honored and remembered forever. So he launched a Facebook page called 'Help Us Find Weslaco's 49' to track down surviving family members.
"The aim is to forever remember these fallen heroes, to keep their sacrificial light always on," he said. "Some of these fallen heroes go far back as World War I. Who knows if their family still lives in Weslaco or even in the Valley."
So far, Ybarra Jr. says they've gotten pictures for almost half of Weslaco's fallen heroes, but he's determined to track down 49, and his driving force is his father.
"I hope that I'm making him proud," Ybarra Jr. said. "The idea is to really not only do it for me, but do it for other Gold Star families."
If your loved one is one of Weslaco's 49 fallen heroes, email Towerofhonorweslaco@gmail.com.