OLDHAM COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - Cal Farley's held a dedication ceremony earlier today to honor Army Specialist Rafael "T.J." Carrillo, Junior, a Boy's Ranch alumnus.
A bronze sculpture was unveiled commemorating Carrillo and other Cal Farley's alumni who had given their lives in service of their country.
Carrillo died in 2005 when he was killed by an apparent improvised explosive device while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Amy Tippie,T.J. Carrillo's mother, said that the sight of her son brought her to tears.
"The likeness is amazing," said Tippie. "T.J. had a scar on his chin from a Humvee accident in the Army. The artist, he worked very closely with my daughter and I. The level of detail he captured was amazing, so it was tears. It was like my son was standing in front of me."
The 6,000 pound, bronze sculpture was the work of Clint Howard, and is based off a photo taken of Carrillo by one of his fellow soldiers. In the photo, Carrillo is kneeling beside an Iraqi boy, and both of them are flashing a "thumbs up" gesture.
According to Carrillo's mother, Carrillo's desire to make life better for the boy, and all the children in Iraq, is why he went over there in the first place.