BERLIN HEIGHTS, Ohio — A Sandusky-area man serving in the U.S. military was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on Thursday. He is the first American who died in that attack to be identified.
Max Soviak was a medic in the U.S. Navy who was killed on Thursday as a result of the attacks on the Kabul airport.
His mother Rachel Soviak wrote on Facebook:
"He was very proud to serve his country. He was very passionate about helping his fellow Americans and trying to get them home safely. There are no words to describe the pain our family is feeling. There will forever be a hole in our hearts."
"We are praying for the service men and woman to arrive home safely to their loved ones."
Soviak was a 2017 graduate of Edison High School. Administrators and teachers called him a good student who was well-respected, one who liked making people laugh.
Edison's full statement from superintendent Thomas C. Roth:
It is with deepest sorrow that I am sharing this news. The Edison Local Schools was informed this morning that Max Soviak, a 2017 graduate of Edison High School, was killed in the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan yesterday.
Max was a good student who was active in sports and other activities throughout his school career. He was well respected and liked by everyone who knew him. Max was full of life in everything he did. Our schools and local community are mourning the loss of Max. He and his family are in all of our thoughts and prayers.
The family has asked that everyone respect their privacy at this difficult time.
Before joining the Navy, Soviak attended EHOVE Career Center for his junior and senior years. He was enrolled in the Electrical Tech program.
Electrical tech instructor Vince Ragnoni was Max’s instructor for two years.
“Max and I had many good conversations about his future and going into the military. I was proud of him for choosing to serve. He was so friendly, very competitive, and was always pulling shenanigans. He liked to get people to laugh. I was honored to have been able to have him as a student. His parents were so supportive, and you knew he was very loved,” Ragnoni said in a statement released by EHOVE.
More from the EHOVE statement:
Anytime we lose a student, we lose a part of our school family and the loss is deeply felt. Our thoughts are with Max’s family and friends at this time. Along with all federal buildings, we will be flying our flag at half-staff to honor Max and the other victims.
The bombings near the airport on Thursday killed at least 95 Afghans and 13 U.S. Troops.
Ohio leaders have offered their condolences.
Sen. Rob Portman released this statement today:
“Jane and I are heartbroken by the death of Max Soviak, a Navy Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman from Berlin Heights, who lost his life in the service of his country. He was a hero who died serving with his Marine brothers helping to save fellow countrymen and our Afghan allies. We mourn his loss and are praying for his family and friends.”
Rep. Marcy Kaptur released the following statement:
“Our nation mourns the loss of Navy Corpsman Max Soviak, whose uncommon courage in the face of unfathomable danger ensured the safe passage of countless civilians. We will never be able to repay the debt we owe him, but we will be forever grateful for his willingness to serve when America needed him most. Our hearts go out to his family during this time, and we lift them up in prayer that they may find comfort in his memory.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown:
“Max Soviak, a Navy Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman from Berlin Heights, died a hero serving his country and working to save the lives of those fleeing imminent danger. My thoughts are with his family, who received the hardest news any parent can hear. May the lives he worked to save be a comfort to all who knew and loved him. His selflessness and heroism will be his legacy.”
There will be a prayer vigil outside Berlin Heights First Congressional Church, 5 E. Main Street, on Sunday at 6 p.m.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Soviak's family. CLICK HERE for more information.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.