Nothing can ever bring back Candida Torre’s son, but she likes to keep memories of him close by. She lost her son Army Spc. Jose Torre Jr. in 2011 when he was just 21-years-old while he was fighting in Iraq.
One of his possessions, a 2009 Nissan Cube, is something that Candida drives every day in his memory. Or at least she did until it was totaled in a car accident in June of 2015. She was devastated at the loss. The officer on the scene, Huntington Beach Police Officer John Baggs III had noticed the Gold Star license plate, which indicated that a family member had that died while serving in the military.
Officer Baggs, who lost his father in the Vietnam War, was sympathetic when he found out that Candida lost her son and that the Cube belonged to him. He was touched after hearing her story and could not stop thinking of some way to help her. A few weeks after the crash, he called Candida’s insurance company and asked if he could buy the totaled Cube from them.
He told them that he was interested in having it restored for the family in honor of their fallen son. AAA not only help Officer Baggs with his request, they donated the car to him. He then got in touch with a company that restores totaled cars, who restored the Cube to look exactly as it did before the crash. Except for one detail- on the passenger side they added a stencil drawing of a gun, helmet, and a pair of boots along with the words “All gave some. Some gave all”. This was a tattoo that Spc. Torre Jr had on his arm.
Five months after the Cube was totaled, Officer Baggs asked Candida and her family to join a ceremony at an airplane hanger under the guise of celebrating Veteran’s Day. What Officer Baggs really wanted to do was surprise Candida with the restored version of her son’s car. While on stage, the car was presented to Candida with a big green bow on it. To everyone who helped bring the car back home she told them, “I will cherish this with all my heart”.