NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Friends and family gathered in North Charleston to honor a Fort Hood soldier who died in the flooding in Texas earlier this month.
Private Eddy Rae' Laurin Gates, 20, was one of the nine soldiers who lost their lives when their truck overturned in a fast-flowing flooded creek.
Gates had a graveside service with full military honors Monday at 1 p.m. at Sunset Memorial Gardens on Ashley Phosphate Road. A traffic unit with the North Charleston Police Department escorted mourners there from the Alfred Williams Community Center.
"She was a very sweet young lady," said Pansy Mack, a family friend of the Gates. "I loved her, I love her family, and I'm just heartbroken. I know things happen, but I was in shock when they told me Laurin had been hurt."
The young Private in the Army was born in Greenville, South Carolina. She graduated from Triton High School in Erwin, North Carolina in 2013 and was very active in the school's ROTC program.
Gates entered active-duty military service in December 2015 as a motor transport operator and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, since April 2016.
"She loved her country," Mack said. "She loved everybody. She always carried a smile on her face and she would do anything for anybody."
Several family and friends attended the burial service dressed in purple, Gates' favorite color. Many wrote letters in the pamphlet for the service remembering and honoring Gates' memory.
"Laurin my sweet daughter, your time on earth seemed all too brief because I wanted you in my life forever, and although I really miss you in my heart, I know that you are at peace. Still countless times throughout the day, I find myself remembering you, although I cannot see or hear you, I know that you are with me. I will feel you in the warmth of the summer sun. I will see you in the brilliance of autumn leaves. You'll be beside me in the peacefulness of a gentle snowfall and rejoice with me at the emergence of the first flowers of spring. I'm thankful for the times we shared and the priceless memories too; for those memories are a comfort now when I lovingly-Remember You." - Eddie Gates (Laurin's Father)
Gates was buried with a National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal and Army Service Ribbon.
Soliders with the U.S. Army gave a 21-gun salute followed by the taps bugel call. The family also released doves and balloons as part of the service.
Her funeral was held Sunday at Kingdom Impact Global Ministries in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
According to her obituary, donations in memory of the fallen soldier are being accepted through the youth department at Kingdom Impact Global Ministries, 2503 Murchison Road, Fayetteville, NC 28201.