Medal of Honor: Celiz

Celiz was a very accepting, kind Army Ranger who led a group of men. He trusted them sincerely and they trusted him. He believed that they each tried to push each other to their best abilities. His wife, Katie, believed that, too.

“He was always very accepting of everybody,” she said. “In high school, he was friends with everybody; he didn’t discriminate because of your race, creed or who you were. As long as you were a good person, that was all he cared about.”

It was the end of Celiz’s fifth deployment when luck finally ran out. During a mission in the Paktia Province of Afghanistan when enemy forces sent out a wave of bullets. Celiz, thinking fast, exposed himself as a shield for his unit. His soldiers were rescued by a helicopter, yet one was wounded.

Celiz, still not caring about his own safety, shooed the helicopter away. They found Celiz later and took him immediately to a hospital. Celiz died there of his wounds.

At his funeral, hundreds of his former teammates showed up to wish him one last goodbye for his heroic act. He was Jewish, and so he was having a funeral at the Synagogue in Savannah, Georgia. Katie says that Celiz found the Jewish religion later in his life and it invigorated him. Katie also remarked that friends and family remembered him for his embrace of others.

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