Sgt. Rodrigo de Souza Lima, 1986 - 2010
Second Sergeant Rodrigo de Souza Lima, a national of Brazil, was deployed to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) since July 2009 where he led a combat group charged with maintaining public security.
Born and raised in Piraí, Rio de Janeiro State, Rodrigo left his hometown to attend the military academy in Minas Gerais in 2005. He later became part of the 5th Battalion Light Infantry of Lorena.
In Haiti, his responsibilities included patrolling and guarding government buildings, hospitals and schools.
As described by his relatives, Rodrigo was “someone very studious, hard-working, and always in love with the uniform he wore.” He went to Haiti to “help those poorer than he was.”
In an interview the day before he departed for Haiti, Rodrigo was excited to join the Mission and was ready to tackle the difficulties there after completing a four-week intensive training.
According to a long-time friend, Rodrigo enjoyed his work in Haiti. “He liked what he was doing,” said the friend. “He was very happy.”
The day before the earthquake, he told his parents that he missed them and didn’t want to celebrate his upcoming birthday alone.
“This is the job he chose and we’re happy for him, for the opportunity it presented to his military career and life experience,” his parents said. “He died honouring his country.”
“It’s very sad,” said Arthur Henrique Gonçalves Pereira, the Mayor of his hometown. “Piraí is a small town where everyone knows everyone and we feel his and his colleagues’ deaths as if we had lost a relative. Rodrigo was a member of a family with long traditions in the city,” said the Mayor. “He was a young man with a promising career ahead of him. He decided to go to Haiti to express solidarity. It was an event that shook our very city.”
A ceremony was held on 22 January at the Brasilia Air Base to honour Rodrigo and his fallen colleagues, which was attended by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and First Lady Marisa Letícia. President Lula called their work with MINUSTAH “the noblest humanitarian mission ever carried out by the Brazilian Armed Forces.”
Rodrigo and his colleagues posthumously received a promotion and the Peacemaker Medal from their country for outstanding acts of courage and bravery under lifethreatening circumstances.
Rodrigo is survived by his parents Maury and Maria, and his brother Thiago.