Military family surprised with new bikes, a thank you for service on South Side

Chicago News

CHICAGO – Students from across the Chicago area honored a military family for their sacrifices with a special surprise celebration Sunday.

For more than a decade, Claudia Torres and her husband, Marine Staff Sergeant Salvador Torres, have lived in various parts of the nation: Hawaii, California and North Carolina. But the couple’s love story started in a Chicago high school. Their military life took them away from their family and the Chicago area for more than a decade.

“We’ve been away, 10,12 years, so it was good to have our parents enjoy their grandkids,” Claudia Torres said.

The Torres family received a show of appreciation from student-athletes from around the Chicago area through the PepsiCo Showdown and Buddy’s Helpers. Every April is Month of the Military Child. On Sunday, Torres’ children, 4-year-old Lilyani and 11-year-old Ethyn were gifted new bikes.

“I am very happy because I got a new bike and haven’t had a new bike in six years,” Ethyn said. “So it was really nice getting a new bike.” 

Marine Staff Sergeant Salvador Torres helps his daughter Lilyani with her newly-gifted bike Sunday, April 25.

The Torres family also received $250 dollars to be donated in their name to their favorite charity. 

“I can say this, for all my teammates here, we’re excited to give back to this family who have sacrificed so much for this country,” said Megan Hutchinson of Lincoln-Way Central High School

Sunday’s event was a thank you to military kids and their parents as the Torres family awaits their next assignment.

Gabriella Dibrizzi of Nazareth Academy says, “Seeing the smile on everyone’s faces and to see Ethyn run to his bike makes everyone satisfied with what we’re doing.”

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