COLUMBUS, Ga. — Memorial day will mean much more for a Columbus family this year. They continue to grieve less than two weeks after the tragic loss of a young soldier.

Staff Sgt. Corwin Mario Burrowes would have turned 25 Thursday, May 25. But tragedy took away an important milestone for the Kendrick High graduate. And now, a Columbus family is left to carry on SSG Burrowes’ legacy of service and sacrifice. Malaya Burrowes knew something wasn’t right when she texted her brother “I love you” and he didn’t respond.

SSG Corwin Mario Burrowes lost his life in a tragic Humvee accident on Fort Bragg.
SSG Corwin Mario Burrowes lost his life in a tragic Humvee accident on Fort Bragg.

“But he always responds,” Malaya said. “Hearing that from my mom just broke me down.”

Malaya’s brother served as an Army medic during Operation Enduring Freedom. But the Columbus soldier tragically lost his life in a Humvee accident on Fort Bragg May 11. Mario was laid to rest back at Fort Benning Saturday, May 20. Mario’s sister remembers him as a sweet, kindhearted boy growing up.

“He was so humble,” Malaya said. “I know brothers and sisters have a bit of a rivalry, but me and Mario were never that way.”

Mario’s big sister says she knew her brother was destined for a life of service.

“He was very active, very adventurous,” Malaya recalled. “He wasn’t scared of anything, which used to scare the heck out of my mom. But he was a good kid, he really was.”

His sister says Mario was a huge Falcons fan. He took the Dirty Birds’ loss in the big game hard this past February. Malaya even recounted how as a medic, Mario treated a homeless man. He later took the homeless man to Walmart and purchased him brand new clothes. Now, the Burrowes family is seeing a return on Mario’s selflessness.

“I’ve been getting messages, letters, gifts — the family has — from soldiers we never even met,” Malaya said.

Mario, 24, went by many names, including “Doc.”

“My mom, when he was younger, she would yodel his name,” Malaya said. “She’d say ‘Mario! Yodi Yodi Yo! So his nickname was Yodi.”

And to his sister, Mario was also known as Superman. People all over Columbus are proud of the hero’s sacrifice.

“It’s something that no one can imagine and no one can suffer the loss of a child,” Dennis Lawrence said about Mario’s tragic death. “No parent should ever have to bury their child. But there are people like myself who actually say thank you, thank you so much.”

Malaya plans to continue her brother’s legacy with a special promise.

“I’m even going to name my firstborn son Corwin Mario because my brother wasn’t able to have a third,” Malaya said. “He was a junior. So I’m going to do it for him. I wish everybody could’ve met him. He was an amazing person. He touched a lot of people. He had a huge heart, and he really was an American soldier.”