A Simpsonville family said a soldier with ties to the Upstate has died while serving in Iraq.
Willis Sullivan said military chaplains notified him Monday that his son, Javion "Jay" Sullivan, was killed in Iraq. The Department of Defense confirmed Sullivan died in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province, Iraq on Jan. 8 while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. The incident is still under investigation.
Jay had been involved in a group text with multiple family members on Sunday and the news on Monday came as quite the shock to the family, said Neeka Henderson, Jay's sister-in-law.
The 24-year-old had been stationed in Fort Hood, TX before his recent deployment to Iraq.
Make a better life for his family, fight his country. It was just something he wanted to do," said his Aunt Patricia Hackett.
He leaves behind a wife, Rayven, and 3-year-old daughter, Mahogany. Rayven and Javion had been together since they were 13-years-old.
Javion's grandmother, Katherine said her grandson always put family first and was the light that would draw them together when he came to town.
"He would always eat with me," she explained, "We would have his cousins to come by here to see him. He would come here so that way the rest of them so they could all come see him at one time."
Katherine added, "He was a joyful person and I miss him so very much. I really do."
Hackett said her nephew's spirit will live on through his daughter.
"He is gone but looking at her, she is his twin," said Hackett, "We will always see Javion in Mahogany."
Sullivan’s sister, Kirsten, attended Hillcrest High School before studying at Lander University. Willis Sullivan said Jay studied at Coastal Carolina and York Tech before joining the army.
Sullivan’s high school wrestling coach, Chris Brock said Jay came out his senior year and stepped up for the team. Coach Brock added that Javion did everything with a smile and respect.
"I wish he had had 100 more Javions," said Coach Brock.
Jay Sullivan's funeral service was Friday, January 26, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. with full military rites at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Spartanburg. He was buried in Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Greer, where a dove release was also held.
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