MILAN, Ohio (WJW) – Edison High School honored Navy Corpsman Maxton Soviak before their first home football game of the season Friday night.
Soviak, a standout football player who graduated from Edison in 2017, was one of the 13 service men and women killed when a bomb exploded at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan on August 26.
He was there working in support of operation Allies Refuge, helping to evacuate American citizens and Afghans who worked alongside U.S. Service personnel and diplomats over the past 20 years.
“Max and his family deserve everything we can do to help them out,” Edison athletic director Nick Wenzel said. “I’ve been told over and over, football was his home. That’s where he seemed to be the most comfortable, out on the field.”
Friday night, Edison High School planned an incredibly touching series of tributes for the 2017 graduate that started with a sea of flags as you approached the football stadium.
In the end zone sat an empty chair with Soviak’s #27 jersey, wrestling singlet and tuba, along with 12 other chairs for the other fallen service members.
“Three of the pieces of the programs he was part of here,” said Wenzel. “This is finally our chance to honor Maxton.”
Maxton played for the Chargers as a fullback and outside linebacker.
As the team faced Norwalk, they all had Maxton’s name and initials painted on their helmets.
A large #27 was also painted on the field at the 27-yard-line, which was his good friend’s idea.
“Max was a brother to me, I first met him in story hour before preschool at the library, so I wanted to do something that represented him that was as bold as he was and as strong as he was,” said close friend Bryce Ostheimer.
Both teams carried flags and the entire stadium, which was filled to capacity, stood for an incredibly moving moment of silence, followed by four F-16 fighter jets roaring overhead in the “missing man” formation.
“What you are seeing is a testament to this community and our love and support for this family,” said Wenzel.
“Nothing can take away the loss, but I can promise he’s never going to be forgotten,” added Nick Frederick, another former teammate and close friend of Soviak.
Visiting hours for Soviak are Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Edison High School Field House.
The funeral service will be held there Monday at 11 a.m.
Soviak made his final homecoming earlier this week. The flag at the stadium will be at half-mast until he is laid to rest.