It's been five years since he lost his brother in an accident just a day before Santa Clara Vanguard's Memorial Day camp. Tonight Ray Velarde holds the hand of his beautiful wife and can smile again. On the first of this month, Ray and Lilly celebrated the birth of their little girl, Samantha Cynthia Velarde. In tribute to the corps he loved, his daughter's initials spell "SCV."

Ray and Lilly Valarde
On that day in 1999, the twin brothers, aging out in the SCV percussion line, were travelling home to Southern California to say good-bye to their mother for the summer. A head-on collision brought an end to Art Velarde's dream, the ultimate good-bye. Ray ended up badly burned and few thought he would be able to continue the season. Weeks later, healed and back in his snare spot, Ray joined his corps brothers in capturing the 1999 DCI championships title. Discovered tonight in the Rose Bowl parking lot checking out drumlines, Ray wears a baseball hat with the words "In Memory of Arthur K. Velarde", hugs his wife, and with fatherly pride predicts his little "SCV" will be the first female center snare in Santa Clara's battery. Stay tuned in 2019!