HARKER HEIGHTS — More than 60 people stopped by the Heritage Funeral Home in Harker Heights on Wednesday night to pay their respects to Staff Sgt. Miguel Angel ColonVazquez. Among the attendees, Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra took time to speak with family members and give his condolences.

“It is a honor for me to be here because, not only was he a soldier, but I connected with him when I saw he was from Puerto Rico. That’s where I am from, too. I felt compelled to come out here and pay my respects to the family,” Segarra, a 10-year Army veteran, said. “My prayers are with the family, and, to me, it is a real honor to just be able to come out here.”

ColonVazquez, 38, of Killeen, was killed in a flash flood when the Army truck he was in overturned at a low-water crossing at Fort Hood on June 2.

ColonVazquez’ body arrived at the Heritage Funeral Home early Wednesday morning, accompanied by Patriot Guard riders, where visitation took place from 5 to 7 p.m.

Volunteers from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Killeen recited a Rosary at 6 p.m. for those in attendence.

“It is a tradition for the Catholic Church to say the rosary for the dead or for the living. The rosary is one of the main daily prayers we say,” Carol Coleman, a volunteer at the church, said.

Family and close friends arrived early at the funeral home to mourn the loss of their loved one. At the entrance, guests took time to write down some of their favorite memories of ColonVazquez and pinned them to a decorative memory tree. One of ColonVazquez’ closest friends, David Zellez, said they both grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., where they shared many childhood memories. Some memories included playing football, riding bikes and skateboarding.

“As a person, he was just a genuine man, he always gave great advice to anybody. I really admired him. He was very goal-oriented, and he always accomplished anything that he wanted to. He wanted people to do better for themselves, always. To me, he is a hero — he is one in a dozen,” Zellez said.

The funeral service will take place today at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church and the graveside service will be Friday at 2 p.m. at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

Area residents are encouraged to line up along the processional route toward the cemetery. The family will leave the funeral home at 1:30 p.m. and take Stan Schlueter Loop to State Highway 195. Representatives from the funeral home encourage residents to line the route and pay their respects.

Clay Thorp contributed to this report.

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