(Original story from the Sandusky Register)
Cleveland-based CrossCountry Mortgage on Sunday donated $100,000 to Edison High School in Milan in memory of U.S. Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, a 2017 Edison graduate who died while assisting in the evacuation of Americans and refugees from Afghanistan in August.
The gift was announced during an on-field ceremony at Sunday’s Cleveland Browns “Salute to Service” game against the Detroit Lions at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Soviak, one of 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, grew up in Berlin Heights and was a member of the Edison Chargers football, wrestling and track teams. He joined the Navy after graduating in 2017.
The 22-year-old corpsman died while providing medical assistance to a mother and child during Operation Allies Refuge, the U.S. military operation that evacuated more than 120,000 non-combatants in the closing days of the war in Afghanistan.
In recognition of his sacrifice, Soviak was posthumously awarded the Navy Purple Heart and Fleet Marine Corpsman warfare badge and his rank was advanced to U.S. Navy Fleet Marine Hospital Corpsman Third Class.
He is survived by his parents, Kip and Rachel Soviak, and 12 siblings.
During the ceremony, CrossCountry Mortgage chief brand officer Laura Soave presented a $100,000 check to Kip Soviak and Edison High School football Coach Jim Hall. The gift will be used for enhancements to the school’s athletic facilities in Maxton’s honor.
Nearly 50 current and former members of the Chargers football program viewed the ceremony and game from the CrossCountry Mortgage Landing overlooking the Dawg Pound.
“We hope today’s ceremony and our donation to Edison High School will call attention to Max and the many other brave young citizens of northern Ohio who each year join the military to help preserve our freedom and protect the safety of others around the world,” said Ronald Leonhardt Jr., CrossCountry Mortgage’s founder and CEO.
“Max grew up in Ohio, he attended school here, and he was a cherished family member, friend, neighbor, teammate and leader. We are proud to celebrate his life and honor the sacrifice he made for all of us Leonhardt said.”
“(This) will be a constant reminder of Max and the sacrifice that he made, and it’s going to give an opportunity to share with players what this represents — how important it is that we continue to do things in a way that would make him proud,” Hall said.
Soviak was laid to rest on Sept. 13 in Erie County following a funeral at the high school stadium in which he had been a standout player. During the service, his sister Kathleen urged attendees to live as her brother had: “Fill the book of your life with stories. Push yourself to do something that scares you. Go bigger. Go harder. And most importantly of all, love fiercely.”