Willingboro, NJ (WTXF) - Dwayne Kelley was a hero whether he was serving his country overseas or helping people on his block in Willingboro, New Jersey. He passed away nine years ago but his neighborhood recently found a way to forever cherish his bravery and heroism.
"It's like something missing all up through here just to talk about him," said Vera Kelley.
She’s overcome with grief thinking about her son Army Major Dwayne Kelley. He was killed in Iraq June 24, 2008. He was on his third tour deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"Dwayne was a hero. Even out in the street he would help anybody," she said. Vera manages to squeeze out a smile when she thinks about September 2nd two weeks ago. A ceremony was held honoring her son with a sign renaming the Willingboro Street he grew up on. It now reads "Major D. Kelley Way".
It was a program from all of the things that he had belonged to," said Vera. Major Kelley was also a 20-year veteran with New Jersey State Police. They came out in numbers to celebrate his honor. He was a Mason, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and many other organizations.
"It was very honorable to know that's my son," said Vera. His wife and daughter came from North Jersey to share in the honor with Vera.
"Oh it was very good but heartbreaking. That's my son and it made me feel even better when his wife and daughter was there," she said. Vera proudly wears her son's badge number around her neck given to her by NJ State Police.
She also wears a dog tag with her son's picture on it. But she’s even happier knowing every time she steps outside her house now she can look up and see her son's name marking the beginning and end of the street and neighborhood where she raised him.
"It's was a nice send off from God."