April 8,2023 was a memorable day for the Nelson family, a day that they honored someone who was very special to them – U.S. Army Sergeant Mario Nelson.
The event was a street co-naming, held at the corner of East 83rd Street and Avenue N, in memory of a fallen hero and Haitian native, Sgt. Mario Nelson, who was killed in combat in Iraq on October 1, 2006, at the age of 26.
The ceremony was organized by Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse, with Dr. Mecca Nelson, wife of Sgt. Nelson, and attended by State Senator Kevin Parker, Councilwoman Farah Louis, representatives from Community Board 18, family and friends.
After welcoming remarks by the MC, Dr. Stacie NC Grant, some former soldiers that worked closely with Sgt. Nelson, and who made the long trip from places like Hawaii, Georgia and Texas, shared their great experiences with attendees.
The family also shared a few words, beginning with Mia Nelson, Sgt. Nelson’s daughter, who was only 3 years old when her father died and is now a sophomore in college. Gary Nelson shared a touching story about his brother’s dedication to serve, especially during 9/11 as people were running away from the catastrophic event, but he ran toward the burning towers to help.
Dr. Nelson shared a personal story of how she struggled raising a daughter without her father. She also expressed how grateful she is for all the support she received from family, friends and officials who acknowledged how important it was to organize this event to honor her late husband.
Although there were a lot of tears during the ceremony, they turned to tears of joy when the cord was finally pulled to unveil the street name – Sergeant Mario Nelson Haitian Warrior Way.
The Nelson family also received citations from various officials like Commissioner Viviana DeCohen, NY State Department of Veterans Services, and Commissioner Manuel Castro, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, etc.