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Army Staff Sgt. Edwin Rivera

Died May 25, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

28, of Waterford, Conn.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment, Connecticut National Guard, Norwalk, Conn.; died May 25 at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., of wounds sustained May 20 when his unit was attacked by enemy forces using indirect fire at Contingency Outpost Xio Haq, Afghanistan.

Conn. guardsman dies after being shot in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — A member of the Connecticut National Guard has been killed in Afghanistan.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office says 28-year old Staff Sgt. Edwin Rivera of Waterford died May 25 after being shot May 20 in Afghanistan’s Laghman province.

Rivera was a member of 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment, one of two Connecticut National Guard units that were deployed in the region late last year.

Rell ordered all state flags be flown at half staff until sundown on the day of Rivera’s interment.

Believed in helping Afghan children

The Associated Press

When Edwin Rivera broke the news to his family that he was returning to Afghanistan for a second tour with the Connecticut National Guard, he had one reason: the Afghan children.

“When the U.S. soldiers drive by,” Rivera, 28, told his mother Gladys, “the children will scramble like mad in the dust just to get thrown a simple pencil from us. They don’t even have pencils.”

This time, Rivera didn’t make it home.

He died May 25 after being wounded during an attack five days earlier in Afghanistan’s Laghman province.

When home in Waterford, Conn., Rivera worked the evening shift as a security guard at a nuclear power plant. While his wife, Yesenia, worked days in a dental office, Rivera cared for their sons, Rolando and Lorenzo, making sure they ate and made it to and from school safely.

Rivera was a 2000 Waterford High School graduate. Friends remember him as a cheerful, giving person.

“He would go out of his way to greet you and ask how you were doing,” Ed Discola posted on an online memorial site. “It was impossible to have a conversation with him and not come out of it smiling.”

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