Loved ones paid their respects to a member of the Texas National Guard whose body was recovered near Eagle Pass after a days-long search.
Military officials said Spc. Bishop Evans, 22, of Arlington died after going into the Rio Grande last Friday, April 22 trying to rescue two migrants struggling to swim across. His body was recovered three days later on Monday, April 25.
Services for Evans were held in Arlington on Saturday at the Koinonia Christian Church.
Staff Sgt. Levy Womble served with Evans and said he died a hero.
“Bishop was a great person. He was unique, he was young. He was just going into who he was,” Womble said.
Evans graduated from Mansfield High School in 2018 and joined the National Guard shortly after. Armand Patino was friends with Evans in high school and recalled their time in the NJROTC.
“He was always just so joyful to be around,” Patino said. “Every time we were in formation and we have a serious face, keep our bearing, he would look around, he says, 'You look a bit stressed out.' Put his hand in his pocket, pull out some jolly ranchers and say, 'Here, have some candy.'”
The latest news from around North Texas.
While Patino said he had not seen Evans in about a year, it was important to be there for him on Saturday.
“When I found out that he passed away, it honestly broke my heart,” Patino said. “He helped out everybody. That’s just who Bishop was. He loved literally giving out to others, and he always wanted to make sure everyone had a smile on their faces at the end of the day.”
Family and friends attended the services Saturday, along with those who did not know him personally. Mike Moore with the Patriot Guard Riders of Texas said they were invited by the family. The national organization was founded in 2005 in an effort to stop disrupters at military funerals.
“These kind of situations are the kind that we hate to see. The active-duty deaths are horrible,” Moore said. “I never met Bishop, but it sounds like he’s got a servant’s heart.”
Flags were lined up outside the church on Saturday, followed by a procession escorted by Arlington police to the DFW National Cemetery in Dallas.
“I hope the family understands that it’s from our heart that we’re here,” Moore said.
Evans was deployed as part of Operation Lone Star, a border security initiative.