The family of a Texoma soldier killed in Afghanistan is making funeral arrangements for their son and brother. Specialist Alexis V. Maldonado died Saturday. Today his mother Alicia spoke with Newschannel 6 about her son, and about the support she's been receiving from friends and family.
Alexis' mother knew he served in the army for the right reasons. He served for his baby, his country, and to better himself. But, after this tragedy hit her family, the support and togetherness are what help them all move on.
Alicia says Alexis was a smart kid, quiet, but very observant. She and others had encouraged him to join the army. After he enlisted, he told his mom he was going to be in combat engineering.
"I asked him, 'What is that?' and he says, 'Well, we're the ones that look for the bomb,' and I thought for sure he's the one that's walking. And he said, 'No, Mom, I'm in a tank,'" Alicia said.
Alexis loved his army friends. His mom says they were like his family. After he was deployed in January, he finally got a chance to speak to his mother on the phone two months later.
"I got the phone call at work. 'Mom, I love you.' He said, 'I just want you to know I love you,'" Alicia said.
She and her family have been coming together since they all heard the sad news last week.
"The sergeants came here to let me know. It's just like a dream. It's what you see in the movies. You never think it hits home," Alicia said.
Her co-workers have also shown support. They surprised Alicia by setting up a memorial of photos, candles, and flags inside the front door of her house. Their loving reach didn't stop there.
"They told me, 'We have your son's picture everywhere. On a flag, in the aisles, on each of the machines at work,'" she said.
"We've been goin' over there since we heard about the death and helpin' support her emotionally," said co-worker Alicia Pewenofkit.
"We're all a family out here and we wanna be there for Alicia and show her our support," said co-worker Lori Rowe.
Now Alicia, a proud but mourning mother, is waiting for her sons body to finally arrive back in Wichita Falls, where he can rest in peace.
While Alexis' casket hasn't arrived in town yet, the funeral arrangements are set. Services will be Monday at Sacred Heart Church at 10:30.
Alexis' godmother has set up a memorial fund for the Maldonado family. That account is in the family name at Wells Fargo, account number 6530340907.