FORT MILL, S.C. -- The entire Fort Mill community is mourning the loss of Spc. Javion Shavonte Sullivan.
Officials said the 24-year-old died January 8 in Al Anbar Province in Iraq. He was assigned to the 16th Signal Company, 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.
“He made the ultimate sacrifice for us all,” said his mother, Cynthia Sullivan.
Flipping through old family photos is helping Cynthia and Willis Sullivan, Jay’s dad, to heal. They got the worst news any parent could get on Monday night, receiving a knock on the door from military officers telling them their son wouldn’t be returning home.
“It did knock the breathe out of me but nonetheless I pulled on my faith,” Cynthia explained.
Jay was a star wrestler at Fort Mill High School. He even had some skills on the basketball court, too. But his parents are most proud of the love he showed his wife, Rayven, and 3-year-old daughter, Mahogany, as well as his unwavering passion to serve his country.
“I tell the guys at work, I say my son is my hero. He is something special,” Willis said.
“He’s gone but he’s in our hearts. He doesn’t walk the earth anymore, but he walks it in each one of us,” Cynthia said.
The pain and suffering they feel is unimaginable but their faith keeps them strong. They said Jay died doing exactly what he wanted to do. And he made the ultimate sacrifice for us all.
Jay's wife, Rayven, gave NBC Charlotte this statement: "Jay was so devoted, headstrong and motivated. He kept his friends encouraged. He was a great father, friend, husband and soldier. There are so many words to explain him, and the love he had for what he was doing and the love he had for me and his daughter. He regretted nothing and made the best of everything."
The soldier’s family tells Jay's funeral will be in Greenville, South Carolina next week. The Department of Defense said the soldier's death was a non-combat related incident which is under investigation.