Monday, September 17, 2007

Marisol Heredia remembered

A family in Baton Rouge is faced with the difficult task of burying their loved one on what would have been her 20th birthday. Army Specialist Marisol Heredia died last Friday in Sam Houston Hospital of burn injuries she received while serving our country in Iraq. WAFB's Cheryl Mercedes sat down with her fiancé and her sister.

Claudia Billiot says, "No one expected her to pass because she was so strong." Billiot is a soldier herself. She says she has a hard time accepting her little sister, Specialist Marisol Heredia is gone. Heredia joined the Army just months after she graduated from high school and was deployed to Iraq in June of 2006. Marisol was responsible for refueling generators in Baghdad. Claudia says her sister was such a strong believer in the U.S.'s mission overseas that she wanted to be there herself. Billiot says, "Everyday in her life, she lived it to the fullest."

Marisol was so determined that her family says she even taught herself to fire weapons with her left hand. Sergeant Travis Beaumont says he saw something special in her. Months later, he proposed to Marisol and the couple got the opportunity to do what most soldiers overseas could only dream of, spend every free moment with their significant other. Beaumont says, "Every lunch break, dinner, always together."

On July 18th, before one of those meetings, Travis says he walked outside of his unit and saw first-hand the incident that would later claim his fiancé's life. He says, "I walked outside, saw the smoke. I texted her to ask what's going on, what was on fire, but I knew it was her because it was where she worked at." Marisol was flown to Sam Houston Hospital the next day. Though at times it seemed she was fighting to stay alive, her family and friends say they never thought, not for one second, that she wouldn't make it. Billiot says, "It was so frustrating to see her laying in that bed and I couldn't do anything for her."

On September 7th, Marisol lost her battle, but her family says it's her smile and that fighting spirit that will keep her memories alive. The cause of the fire that ended Marisol's life early is still under investigation.

From WAFB 9

Related Link:
Marisol Heredia dies 'at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related injury July 18 in Baghdad'