What are you thankful for?

·3 min read

Nov. 24—What are you thankful for?

That is the question everybody should be asking themselves as we gather Thursday for a Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family.

That is the first thing we should be thankful for — getting the chance to gather with friends and family.

As we slowly make our way out of this pandemic, it makes it grateful for what we have and what we missed the last year and a half.

It would be hard to talk about being thankful without mentioning the great event that went on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. No, not that crappy football game in the rain, but the presentation at halftime.

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.

Let's all be thankful for our military and how some of them give their lives so we can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with our friends and family.

I have been to many Browns games and during the first half a number of local servicemen and women are honored. It is a great moment and it never gets old.

This presentation was special to everybody who knew Maxton or his family.

It will never take away the hurt, but it will make it just a little bit easier knowing what he did will benefit others for years to come.

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.

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.

"(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.

It was a tough season for Hall and his players, who played with heavy hearts following the death of one of their former teammates.

But despite a 5-5 season, the 16th-seeded Chargers pulled off the biggest shocker of this year's playoffs by defeating No.-1 seeded Bellevue 23-22 in the first round.

Maybe Maxton was looking out for the Chargers, or maybe the Chargers were looking out for Maxton.

No matter what, that is something to be thankful for.

God bless Maxton Soviak.

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com.