Relatives have paid tribute to a Texas National Guard member whose body was found near Eagle Pass after a days-long search.
Military officials said Spc. Bishop Evans, 22, of Arlington died after entering the Rio Grande on Friday, April 22, trying to save two migrants who were struggling to swim across. His body was found 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 figuring out who he was,” Womble said.
Evans graduated from Mansfield High School in 2018 and joined the National Guard soon after. Armand Patino was friends with Evans in high school and remembers their time at NJROTC.
“He was always so happy to be there,” Patino said. “Every time we were in training and we had a serious face, let’s keep our focus, he was looking around, he said, ‘You look a little stressed.’ Put his hand in his pocket, pull out some happy ranchers, and say, ‘Here, have some candy.’ “
Although Patino said he hadn’t seen Evans in about a year, it was important to be there for him on Saturday.
“When I found out he had passed away, it truly broke my heart,” Patino said. “He helped everyone. It’s just who Bishop was. He literally loved giving back and he always wanted to make sure everyone had a smile on their face at the end of the day.
His family and friends attended services on Saturday, as well as those who did not know him personally. Mike Moore of the Patriot Guard Riders of Texas said he was invited by the family. The national organization was founded in 2005 with the aim of stopping disruptors at military funerals.
“Those kinds of situations are the kind we hate to see. Active duty deaths are horrific,” Moore said. “I’ve never met Bishop, but it looks like he has a servant’s heart.”
Flags were lined outside the church Saturday, followed by a procession escorted by Arlington Police to DFW National Cemetery in Dallas.
“I hope the family understands that it’s in our hearts that we’re here,” Moore said.
Evans was deployed on Operation Lone Star, a border security initiative.