BERLIN HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – Two years after U.S. Navy Corpsman Max Soviak was killed while helping evacuate refugees in the final days of the war in Afghanistan, his family will be holding its second annual fundraiser on Saturday to benefit veterans in need of assistance.
The Tango’s Trot and Dog Walk, named in honor of Max Soviak and his beloved dog Tango, raises funds for the Maxton William Soviak Memorial Foundation, which was established by Max’s parents to provide assistance for veterans dealing with trauma and hardship.
“I think he would be very happy that we’re helping people because right until the very end, that’s what he was doing,” said Max’s father, Kip Soviak.
The fundraiser for the foundation is one of many ways that Northeast Ohioans are paying tribute to the 22-year-old Soviak, who was one of 13 service members killed in August 2021 by a suicide bomber outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
“I think it’s just the perfect legacy for Max and we never, ever want to forget the sacrifice that he made and there’s no bigger honor than to think of him always and then for his legacy to go on through his ability to help other veterans,” said Berlin Heights Mayor Connie Ward.
The foundation has already extended a helping hand to nearly a dozen veterans, providing everything from therapy dogs to funding for emergency housing.
As a result of funds raised during the first Tango’s Trot, Max’s parents were recently able to present a veteran suffering from PTSD with a specially trained service dog.
“We were at a park watching them interact, my wife and I, and we were standing back and we were like, ‘this is a lot,’ so it was nice to see them together. This service member was ecstatic that he has a service dog, so we know that we did accomplish something but the fact we had to lose Max to do that, it’s very bittersweet,” said Kip.
The Soviak family says they see and hear reminders every day of their son’s impact on his hometown.
During the Tango’s Trot and Dog Walk, northeast Ohioans can honor his sacrifice and his commitment to his fellow service members.
“Very overwhelming to see the outpouring of appreciation that the community has for what he was able to accomplish and what we’re trying to do as a foundation,” his father said.
The Tango’s Trot and Dog Walk will get underway at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Memorial Park in Berlin Heights, and will run through 2 p.m.