Happy memories provide comfort for Seabee's grieving family

Published: Oct. 23, 2011 at 2:01 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 23, 2011 at 4:26 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Raymond Border and Terrence Boyd met at a club. Boyd was a single mother of three, enjoying time with friends. Border was a single dad of two, hoping to charm Terrence. She loved to dance, and after picking up lessons in Guam during a deployment, Border swept the girl of his dreams off her feet.

"He kept asking me out, and I wouldn't go out with him. And he said, 'Let's just go out for movie and a dinner, and that's all. I promise,'" Boyd recalled.

One date led to another, and the couple soon fell in love. They moved in together and formed a Brady Bunch style family. They had been together for seven years.

That happy meeting and countless other moments of joy are what surround Boyd and her family during what is a time of great loss.

During his deployment in Afghanistan, Chief Petty Officer Raymond Border was killed by an improvised explosive device. The 31-year-old was a native of West Lafayette in eastern Ohio and had been stationed in Gulfport since 1999.

Just days after witnessing the return of Border's remains to American soil, the family he left in Gulfport seems to be in shock. While pain is present, so is a sense of love.

Before his death, Boyd says the couple, who had been together for seven years, decided to get married. While video chatting during his deployment, Border told his long time girlfriend to pick out a dress and a ring. He had planned to officially propose when he returned in November.

"It's easy to be a part of our family, but he just fit right in, became a brother, a friend and everything," said Boyd.

In the home the couple shared with their children, pictures fill every wall showing smiling faces and happy time.

His family remembers Ray as loving and goofy. His fiancee describes him affectionately as a "redneck," saying he was never without a pair of blue jeans, work boots and a camouflage hat when home.

Boyd's twin teenage daughters consider Ray their father and rattled off stories about camping trips and jokes through tears.

"He would always tell us how much he loved us, and he never treated us like we weren't his own kids. He loved us like his own kids, and he treated us like it," said Caitlin Boyd.

As a Seabee, Border was a dedicated and decorated soldier. He told his family that serving in the military was his calling. Boyd said he was always trying to gain more training and experience.

Boyd's 18-year-old son Aaron hopes to follow in Border's footsteps. She said Border's son, Donavan, is also considering joining the military.

"It meant so much to him. He's told my son, Aaron, that you have to strive. You have to try to achieve, because he may achieve, but that wasn't his limit," said Boyd.

While she grieves his loss, Terrence says she understands Ray's sacrifice.

"I hope everybody understands that these men and women are over there fighting for us. We're here standing and walking and doing what we do because somebody sacrificed their life for us, and somebody has to do without a husband, a brother, a son, a friend because of that," said Boyd through sobs.

Border also leaves behind his immediate family in Ohio, where he one day hoped to retire.  Boyd says she is overwhelmed by the show of support from family, friends and the military.

According to Boyd, there will be three services for Border. His cremated remains will be brought to Gulfport for a memorial at the Seabee Base, and he will be laid to rest in Ohio. A third service overseas is planned Monday by his commanding officer.

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