Aspiring film editor honors local fallen soldier | News
GUILDERLAND - Friends called him Ralfie. But, to Rafael Nieves Sr., he was his son, who died much too soon, just days before his 23rd birthday.
Spc. Rafael Nieves Junior was killed in Afghanistan July 10, 2011. Nieves Sr. has a section of his Guilderland home devoted to memories of his son. It's that life Kayla Sacco wants to capture in a documentary.
"His smile, his enthusiasm, his love of life," said Sacco.
The young production student is taking on the big project to honor her friend. She's determined to not let "Ralfie" just be another statistic.
"You see their face once they pass away, and you never hear their name again."
Nieves Jr. was a brave soldier, but also a father, a husband, a son and a great friend. Sacco wants to tell the story through the words of those who loved him.
"He actually turned his life around in a big way. He has made me very proud of him," said Nieves Sr.
Nieves Sr. hopes this documentary will someday be a way for his grand children to remember their father.
"He meant so much to me, I felt like I needed to do something to keep his memory alive," said Sacco.
Sacco is looking to raise money to pay for travel expenses to visit Nieves Jr.'s mom, wife and children who all live out of the area. She set up a website for donations.