Fort Bragg hosts Kelli Bordeaux memorial service - WNCN: News, Weather

Fort Bragg hosts Kelli Bordeaux memorial service

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. -

Fort Bragg hosted a memorial service for Spc. Kelli Bordeaux Wednesday. The service came two weeks after the remains of the Army Medic were found in Cumberland County.

“Kelli Bordeaux was an amazing woman who brought the entire community of Fayetteville and beyond together, and she gave us all a special kind of hope – hope for her return home, hope that her family could find peace among the unknowing, and hope that we could all live life just as she did,” commented Bordeaux’s Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Heather Kness.

Other fellow soldiers at the memorial service talked about Bordeaux’s uplifting qualities – an outgoing personality and a “thousand-watt smile.” Between somber moments of crying and sadness there were also laughs as friends shared stories.

“Every morning her smile lit up the bay while everyone was dreading P.T.” said Bordeaux’s friend Sgt. Kaydi Owens.

Bordeaux disappeared in April of 2012. Searches for her turned up nothing. Then two weeks ago a long-time person of interest in the case was arrested and charged with Bordeaux’s murder after Fayetteville Police say he led them to her remains.

“Kelly was a flame that burned so brightly it was impossible to believe that her light could ever be extinguished,” said Kness. “Even now, as the long days and nights of wondering have come to a close, Kelly’s light glows – I think – brighter than ever before.”

A chilling moment is the service came during a mock roll call. Bordeaux’s name was called, and there was no response. There was a second call, and again there was silence. A third call also went unanswered. A gun salute and the playing of taps followed.

Soldiers also took time to salute Bordeaux at the battlefield cross at the front of the All American Chapel. Her family members also paused at the battlefield cross that included boots and a helmet and dog tags with Bordeaux’s name on them. Her mother took time for a special moment of her own, kissing a photo that was also at the front of the chapel.

Spc. Julianna Mannett quoted Steven Curtis Chapman saying, “We can grieve with hope because we believe with hope that by God’s grace there’s a place where we’ll see her face again.”

Mannett continued with her own words.

Although the service was not open to the general public, speakers did take time to thank the greater Fayetteville community for searching for Bordeaux and for not letting her story fade away.

A public funeral service is planned for Bordeaux this Saturday. It will be in her hometown of St. Cloud, Fla.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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