VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Navy Sailor who was killed in an August 31 helicopter crash off the coast of San Diego has ties to Hampton Roads.
31-year-old Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James "Jimmy" Philip Buriak played on a sand wiffleball league while he was stationed in Virginia Beach, according to co-owner of Backyard Sports Club Jon Reyes.
On Saturday, the Backyard Sports Club held its annual sand wiffleball tournament, which they dedicated to Buriak.
"Jim's family was from out of town and he moved here because of the Navy, and so he joined social sports and met hundreds of friends through backyard sports club," Reyes said. "I think it's about the sportsmanship and the camaraderie and meeting new people. I think for all of us that come together to help raise money for Jim's family, it's just a good thing for our community."
According to a GoFundMe created by the HSC-8 Spouses Club, "his favorite things were to play with his son, Caulder, and crack jokes with his wife."
Buriak was one of five sailors killed in the training exercise.
These are the names of the other American heroes who died:
- Lt. Bradley A. Foster, 29, a pilot from Oakhurst, California
- Lt. Paul R. Fridley, 28, a pilot from Annandale, Virginia
- Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, from Salem, Virginia
- Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, 31, from Severna Park, Maryland
- Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, 21, from St. Louis, Missouri
According to the Navy, the Sailors were part of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8, which was embarked on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Five additional Sailors on the aircraft carrier were hurt in the incident. Two were taken ashore to be treated and another three were treated on the ship.
Funds raised from Saturday's wiffleball tournament will go to the Buriak family as they navigate this difficult time. Any extra contributions will be utilized for living expenses, housing expenses, childcare, and education cost.
Jimmy is survived by his wife, Megan Diane Buriak, son, Caulder Buriak, father, James Buriak, mother, Carol Buriak, sister, Laura Buriak, and brother-in-law, Erik Zickefoose.
Click here for a link to the GoFundMe.