LANDGRAF: Memorial: Kris Higdon & Bozzy Cuellar

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf

By State Rep. Brooks Landgraf

As we gather with family and friends this Memorial Day weekend, amidst the barbecues and camping trips, let us not forget the true reason for this solemn occasion. It’s a time to honor and remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

For me, Memorial Day carries a deeply personal significance, as I remember two guys who I grew up with here in Odessa. But these two regular guys became extraordinary men: Kris Higdon and Bozzy Cuellar.

Kris Higdon

Kris Higdon, one of my classmates at Permian, joined the Army soon after we graduated. U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Higdon embodied the spirit of selflessness and courage, and love for our country. He served dutifully, and deployed overseas with his unit during the war in Iraq.

On May 22, 2007, while on patrol in Taji, Iraq, Kris was killed in action when an enemy roadside bomb detonated near his unit. His life was cut short, but his legacy of bravery and dedication to duty continues to inspire us all. Kris will forever remain in our hearts, and today, we honor his memory and the sacrifice he made for our freedom.

Read more about Kris Higdon here.

Bozzy Cuellar

U.S. Army Sergeant Bacilio Cuellar is another Odessa who deserves to be remembered today. Cuellar, affectionately known as “Bozzy,” was a year behind me in school, but I knew him because we both played in the MOJO band at Permian. Bozzy was a very talented drummer! Like Kris, he enlisted soon after graduation to serve his country. Bozzy’s unwavering commitment to service also led him to the frontlines of Iraq. On May 30, 2007, while on patrol in Baghdad, Bozzy was killed in action when his vehicle was bombed with an enemy makeshift device.

Kris was 25 when he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Bozzy was 24. They both left behind widowed wives and young children. The loss of these two men were deeply felt by all who knew them, and their memory serves as a poignant reminder of the cost of freedom.

Read more about Bozzy Cuellar here.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I pause to reflect on the lives of Kris Higdon and Bozzy Cuellar, and the countless others who gave everything they had for our nation. Their names may not be etched in monuments or inscribed in history books, but their courage and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

As we enjoy the blessings of liberty, let us also remember the families left behind—those who bear the weight of loss every day. May they find comfort in knowing that their loved ones are honored and cherished by a grateful nation.

God bless Texas!