The Colón-Ruiz Family
Born in Puerto Rico, Colón-Ruiz, 43, took an interest in the military early on. However, it was the media coverage of the Iran and Afghanistan war that convinced him to take the step to serve and support his country. Upon his journey to join the military, Colón-Ruiz moved to South Chicago. Soon after graduating high school, Colón-Ruiz joined the U.S. Army, which allowed him to reap the benefits of bringing safety and economic security to his family. Colón-Ruiz’s military career has been substantial. He was sent to the 101st ABN in Fort Campbell, Kentucky as soon as he graduated. Then, he joined 1/506th INF – one of the most recognized units in the United States due to its popularity in the HBO series, “Band of Brothers.” This unit was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq. It was in 2008 that Colón-Ruiz was deployed to Afghanistan. He was sent to the city of Wardak. During this tour, a rocket-propelled grenade exploded in his Humvee, which caused him to suffer several serious injuries. His injuries include loss of sight in one eye, hearing impairment, loss of two fingers, and two paralyzed fingers. Consequently, Colón-Ruiz is completely deaf in his left ear while his right ear is only 50 percent functional. Thankfully, his hearing aid brings him a better quality of life. Aside from these lingering injuries, he has visible scars on his face, head, and upper body. He is now considered 100 percent disabled by the VA. All of this is unfortunate, but he continues to push through life. After all of this, his bravery hasn’t gone unnoticed. President George W. Bush has awarded him a Purple Heart, while also receiving an Infantry Badge and Army Commendations Medal. He deserves all the recognition he can get. Colón-Ruiz’s decorated achievements exceed his military career. In addition, he is a stellar, single father to a 26-year-old son, Okland Colón, a 21-year-old daughter, Mileyshka Colón, and a 14-year-old son, Adrian Colón. After arriving from deployment, he found himself with full custody of his younger children and has been making sure to give them the best life possible. His efforts, however, have paid off; both of them, who live at home with him, are off to bright futures. His daughter, Mileyshka, for instance, recently earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas. Meanwhile, Adrian, a freshman in high school, is a model student – and that is sure to lead him to great things in life. It is evident that his joy shines through his family. Currently living in Arlington, Texas, Colón-Ruiz has used his military-style endurance to compete in various Ironman races and marathons. He remains the purpose-driven young boy from Puerto Rico and his passion seeps over to those around him. And despite everything he’s lived through, he understands that he’s beaten the impossible and sees the beauty of what life is today.