Parkchester man killed in Iraq to have post office named for him

The Parkchester post office will be named for Army Private Isaac Cortes, a local kid killed in Iraq in 2007.

His mother, Emily Toro, said she wept with joy when she heard the news.

"We thought, 'Our prayers are answered,'" she said. "Anything that has to do with my son and honor my son, it's exciting for me."

"Just keeping his memory alive and letting people know the sacrifice not only my son but other soldiers have made for this country."

Representative Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) introduced legislation to name the U.S. Postal Service branch at 1449 West Ave. for Cortes two years ago, and President Obama signed it into law last week.

Cortes, 26, an infantry squad leader, was on patrol north of Baghdad on Nov. 27, 2007 when the Humvee he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb. He and a fellow soldier, Spec. Benjamin Garrison, 25, of Houston, were killed instantly.

Cortes enlisted in the Army in 2006 and had been in Iraq only about three months after shipping to the battlefield right out of boot camp.

He was raised in Parkchester and attended Christopher Columbus High School.

Cortes was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

"Like so many brave men and women before him, Private Cortes put his love for our country above all else. For that, our community and our nation are forever grateful," Crowley said.

A strip of Unionport Road at Metropolitan Ave. in Parkchester was renamed for Cortes in March, 2010.

Toro has worked throughout the years to keep her son's memory alive.

Most notably, she has hosted several fundraisers to for the annual Wounded Warriors race. Last year, she raised $3500 to purchase a hand-cranked bike.

"Isaac always said, 'Mom, go big.' So I'm going big for him," said Toro.

"Where Isaac left off, I picked up the torch and kept going. It's what a mother does. A mother's love never ends."

“It is my hope that by renaming the post office after Private Cortes, we can ensure that his bravery, service and sacrifice will forever be remembered," said Crowley.

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