After search, veteran connects with fallen comrade's family
SGT. ANGELO LOZADA JR.
Lozada was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. "We used to do that whole Red Sox/Yankees thing," Coutu remembered.
The incident haunted Coutu after he was released from active duty in 2006 and moved back to Pelham. He joined the Massachusetts National Guard, but he needed to do something more to recapture the camaraderie of his Army days. So he joined the Nam Knights motorcycle club, made up of veterans from all the recent conflicts.And on his first trip to the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in 2009, he found the white marble grave of his friend and comrade, Sgt. Angelo Lozada Jr., who had moved to Nashua after high school, unbeknownst to Coutu. "All this time I'd been home, I had no idea he was this close."
On the December Saturday when the Blue Star Mothers group organizes volunteers to lay wreaths at the veterans' cemetery, they all found each other at Lozada's grave. Coutu, who now lives in Lunenburg, Mass., met his comrade's sisters, brother and three kids, who are grown now.
"I felt like I knew him," she said. "I feel like he was part of my family already."
It was the first time she'd been at the cemetery for the wreath-laying, Jimenez said, although she had always wondered who was leaving the fresh green wreaths with the red bows at her brother's grave each December.
"To know that someone we didn't even know carried my brother's name tattooed on his arm ... ."
Coutu, who is married and has two stepchildren, said the meeting "made my Christmas."
"To me, they're extended family," he said.
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