Soldiers' families in mourning after Fort Hood flooding deaths in military vehicle

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Two families from the Tri-state area are in mourning. They are connected by a tragedy 1,700 miles away.

"She touched so many people," said Essie James, Tysheena's mother.

Eager and determined, at just 21-years-old Tysheena James already had a great vision for her life, to protect and serve her country and make her family proud in the U.S. Army.

"She was hungry, hungry and determined, she just had a passion a straight real raw passion to serve to be in the army she loved it she really did," Essie said.

With a contagious smile and joy for life, her mother says she had dreams of one day becoming a JAG attorney, and anything Tysheena set her mind on she accomplished.

"The first time I saw her in her fatigues, just so proud, so proud, oh my God I just cried, I just held her so tight," Essie said.

Tragically, Tysheena was one of nine soldiers killed last week in a training accident near Fort Hood when the group's military vehicle got swept away by flood waters.

"She leaves a lot of broken hearts, she has a lot of hurt family members," Essie said.

It's a sudden and devastating loss also be felt by the family of Staff Sergeant Miguel Anguel Colonvazquez who held a small prayer vigil in Brooklyn Friday in his honor.

"When we found out about his passing, we were in shock. To me, my brother was indivisible, a strong minded individual; I just know he's still with us. He will always be in our prayers, in our hearts," said Alex Colon, Colonvasquez's brother.

Now mourning two courageous souls gone too soon, loved ones are finding peace in the legacy Tysheena and Miguel leave behind.

"We're family, we are all of our loved ones, we're together in this. They loved each other, they worked hard together, they trained hard together, they laughed, probably even cried together, who knows, but we going to get through this," Colon said.

Tysheena will be laid to rest Saturday at Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church. Governor Chris Christie has also ordered flags to fly at half-staff in her honor.
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