A street sign unveiled in Elmont in a Sunday ceremony now preserves the memory of a former resident who lost his life while serving in the United States military.
Local officials dedicated 116th Road at 239th Street to Andre Darnell Mitchell, a Army specialist who received a bronze star medal for his service in Iraq, where he died in 2008 after his Humvee flipped while on patrol in Mosul.
Mitchell, who was 25, grew up on 116th Road, and his mother, Yasmin Patterson, still lives there.
“It is with great pleasure that I stand here today,” Patterson said at the ceremony, flanked by officials from Hempstead Town, Nassau County and New York State. “As I stand at my porch and look at that sign, I’ll be forever smiling.”
Mitchell, who attended Sewanhaka High School and Nassau Community College, had wanted to serve in the military since he was eight years old, Patterson said. The Sept. 11 attacks prompted him to leave his job and join the military.
“When he told me, I was devastated,” Patterson said. But she said he was resolute in his decision, asking his mother, "'If I don’t do it, who else is going to?'"
Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen praised Mitchell for his service.
“Andre answered the call to fight for his country, and did so with honor and integrity,” she said. “This is the least we can do in the Town of Hempstead to honor your son.”
Nassau Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont), wrote to Gillen last year to request the street renaming.
“His memory will never be forgotten,” Solages said Sunday. “Let everyone who passes here know that a young man from this community served his community very proudly.”