The Story of Elíseo C. Félix, Jr.
The Story of Elíseo C. Félix, Jr.
Elíseo C. Félix was born February 19, 1971 to Elíseo and Hortencia Félix in Phoenix, Arizona. He was raised in Avondale along with his two sisters, Cynthia and Christina. “Cheyito” was the name everyone knew him by. He attended the Avondale School District and did very well academically. Elíseo played on the local baseball team and was an altar server at St. John Vianney Catholic Church. As a teenager, he was active in the church youth group. He also worked at a grocery store to save money to restore his first car.
Elíseo was very much loved by his family and friends. It was obvious that he loved life by the way he always smiled and could make anyone laugh. His presence was much enjoyed by everyone around him. He loved his family very much and was over protective of his mother and two sisters.
Elíseo graduated from Agua Fria High School in the summer of 1989. He believed in education, and was determined to be something great in life. He did not want to put the burden of education expenses, however, onto his mother. He then made the important decision to join the United States Marine Corp. His mother was upset and felt there had to be an alternative. Since she was a single mother, Elíseo insisted that this was a great opportunity because they could pay for his education under the GI Bill.
He passed the admission test with excellence and his mother finally accepted his decision, deciding all she could do was support him. That fall, he was on his way to Camp Pendleton where he endured intense physical and emotional training. After three long months, the family went to California for his graduation to find that the young boy was now a man. Everyone was proud of him. He was stationed in Maryland temporarily and then in the Twenty-Nine Palms, California.
In the summer of 1990, chaos in the Middle East broke out and there was word of war. Elíseo received the news that he was to go there immediately. Before leaving, he proposed to the love of his life, Monica. The young couple planned to marry upon his return. During that summer, Elíseo was deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm.
His mother tried to keep him from going since he was her only son. Once again, Elíseo insisted he must go. He explained to her that he was trained to do this mission. He had to fight for his country. He also wanted to come back “with lots of medals.” He was a proud Marine who was firm on his decision. His family constantly kept in contact with him through letters, pictures, audiocassettes and an occasional phone call. He loved receiving “goody packages” filled with homemade cookies and his favorite snacks. His letter were always cheerful, funny, and up in spirit. He took great pride and honor in being a Marine and made sure to always sign USMC on his letters.
Elíseo kept his faith strong, knowing that God was with him. On February 4, 1991, his mother received the devastating news that Elíseo had been killed by friendly fire. His unit was in a convoy that night, moving towards the Kuwait/Saudi Arabian border. They had just repelled an Iraqi attack and were on their way to a new position. Unfortunately, they were mistaken for an enemy convoy and were attacked by allied aircraft.
The community pulled together and helped the Felix family through this tragedy. Everyone in Avondale was affected by the news, especially because the whole town knew each other. Letters and gifts from all over the state and country were mailed to his mother from people expressing their deepest sympathy. No matter how many years go by, Elíseo has never been forgotten. Whether it is a phone call to his mother from an old friend, or a school being named after him, he has remained in the hearts of everyone in Avondale. Elíseo went above and beyond in his duties as a Marine, accomplishing his goal of “winning a lot of medals”. He earned the following medals:
- May 1, 1990—1st Private Class
- January 1, 1991—Lance Corporal Medal of Good Conduct
- Marine Southwest Asia Service Medal with one Bronze Star
- National Defense Service Kuwait Liberation Medal
- Purple Heart with Overseas Deployment Ribbon
- Combat Action Ribbon
In an official school dedication ceremony on November 8, 2005, Pioneer Elementary School in the Avondale School District #44 was renamed Elíseo C. Félix School.