The city of Boston today installed a new "hero square" at the intersection of Massachusetts Ave. and Columbia Road as a permanent memorial to a former Dorchester resident who lost his life while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Sgt. Alberto D. Montrand was killed — along with three of his fellow soldiers— when an IED destroyed their Humvee in Feb. 2006. Sgt. Montrond, who was 27, left behind two children and his widow, Krystal. His mother Maria Montrond was on hand for today's ceremony, which featured remarks from Mayor Thomas M. Menino, City Councillor Tito Jackson, Veterans Services Commissioner Francisco Urena and Sgt. Montrond's cousin, Alberto Montrond.
The event also served as the debut of a new element to the city's "hero square" presentation: a second sign with details of the late soldier's biography that will give passersby more information about the fallen Bostonian than just their name.
There are some 1,285 hero squares located at intersections across the city, according to Commissioner Urena. The city is embarking on a special project to enlist volunteers to help them write brief biographies on each of the men and women so honored across Boston.
Montrond emigrated to the United States in 2006 from Praia, the capital of Cape Verde. His family re-settled on Marshfield Street, just off Clifton Street in the heart of the Cape Verdean immigrant community near Uphams Corner. As a student at Madison Park High School, he joined the ROTC program and enlisted in the Army upon graduation. He told family members that he intended to re-enlist shortly before he was killed in action. Montrand had already earned several decorations, including the Bronze Star.
"Dorchester never forgets its fallen heroes," said Councillor Jackson. "And with the dedication of this hero square we'll never forget his service. He was truly an American hero."
Urena said that the city's Veterans Services office is currently recruiting volunteers to assist in compiling details of other veterans who already have existing hero squares in their name. Volunteers should visit their website for more details.