July 27, 2014, was Sgt. 1st Class Ommy Irizarry’s anniversary, but the celebration ended when he and his daughter Oceana were killed as a small plane crash-landed on a beach near Sarasota.
Their survivors, wife Rebecca and daughter Ava Irizarry, have struggled to heal.
To continue healing and to share the memory of Ommy and Oceana with everyone, their floral portraits will be on the Donate Life float during the New Year’s Day Rose Parade.
The Donate Life float is sponsored by LifeLink, which facilitates organ and tissue donation in west Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As Irizarry and Ava, 7, recently completed the floral portraits, Ava’s infectious smile filled the room as she finished the likeness with the eyebrows of her father. She whispered something to her mother.
Gaining the courage to speak to the crowd gathered for the finishing the floragraphs, Ava said, “Ommy and Oceana were the best people in my life. They were always happy. My dad, he was always smiling. My sister, we fought over TV shows sometimes, but I loved her very much.”
“They were very generous, warm-hearted people,” Irizarry said, “always ready to help anyone that needed it.”
Ommy Irizarry was assigned to Fort Stewart’s Warrior Transition Unit when the accident occurred. His widow, an Army veteran, said the floragraphs are “a great remembrance.”