SEGUIN — Richard L. Vazquez gave his all to the United States.
“He loved defending his country and he did it well,” said brother Romario Vazquez. “I could sleep better at night knowing he was protecting us.”
On Wednesday, Romario said Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group died doing what he loved. He died of injuries suffered during an IED explosion while deployed in Afghanistan.
Richard, 28, was well-known in Seguin as a member of the Matador football team and a 2004 graduate of Seguin High School. Though the family has moved to Louisiana, Romario said he’s been deeply moved by the outpouring of support from Seguin.
“I”m so, so thankful for everyone in Texas reaching out to us, even though we’re so far away,” he said. “I’m honored that my brother was well-known back home and that the friends he made there are willing to show that kind of support and love.”
Sister Christine Vazquez said she was proud of her brother in a statement to media. She said Richard, who was a resident of Mansfield, La. at the time of his death, loved and lived every moment of his short life.
“Richard has never met a stranger and is greatly loved by all that knew him,” she said.
Christine, like Romario, said that the family has been overwhelmed by support.
“I log on Facebook and I am met with literally 100-plus notifications, dozens of friend requests, and profile pictures changed to flags at half-staff,” she said. “I feel truly blessed to know he has been loved by so many people honoring him and praying on our behalf. I know the only way I am getting through heartbreak is because of prayers.”
Richard leaves behind parents, Teresa Paddie and Ted Vazquez, and siblings Romario, Celza, Christine and Isabel Vazquez.
While funeral arrangements are still pending, Romario said Richard had said he wanted to be buried near their mother, in Louisiana.
Romario said the family moved often, and came to Seguin in about 2000. But his brother was able to quickly make friends.
“A lot of people knew him from football, but he was just a loving person,” Romario said. “He was kind to everybody.”
After graduation, Richard decided to forego college and went straight into the military. The family said Richard was on his third deployment at the time of his death. As a member of the Green Berets, he was also called up for several special missions. But he never complained.
“Even when he wasn’t deployed he was climbing mountains, going to Colombia, doing sniper training — constantly training,” Romario said. “He felt like when you dedicate your life to something, you give it your all.”