By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
Felix Suarez Jr. would have gotten a kick out of the sight Monday morning: A line of postal trucks puttering down state Highway 195 toward the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.
Upon learning that convoy was for him, Suarez would have laughed, his son Michael said.
Family, friends and former co-workers gathered at the cemetery Monday morning to say goodbye to Suarez, a former soldier and U.S. Post Office employee.
Suarez, a New York City native, died Feb. 9 at a Temple hospital. He was 53.
Suarez was a longtime postal employee, working at branches from Killeen to Temple.
Jose Cancel met Suarez 15 years ago. Both retired from the Army and went to work for the U.S. Postal Service. Cancel said Suarez loved music. He was the kind of guy who asked people how they were every day, Cancel added.
Suarez's sense of humor also stuck out. Cancel remembered working on a postal route that delivered to Suarez's house. He would meet Cancel at the mailbox and they'd joke about one mail carrier delivering to another.
Cancel joined the procession of mail trucks in honor of his friend to show his respect. Suarez may be gone, he said, but he will "stay with us in our hearts."
"A lot of us are going to miss him a lot," Cancel said of Suarez.
Iris Perez's husband is also a mail carrier, and she said this was the first time the Killeen Post Office paid tribute to a friend with a convoy.
Not only was Suarez well known in the local postal industry, he was active in the local Latin community, Perez said. Cancel said he received calls of condolence from as far away as San Antonio once people learned of Suarez's passing.
Suarez would have been proud to see his peers support him and his family, Perez said. He's the guy who, if someone else died, would lead a tribute like this, she added.
Because many postal employees are former service members, they form a similar bond, Perez said. That unity makes them a brotherhood.
That is especially important in a community that is familiar with the military. It shows that civilians are united too, Perez said.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547.