West Michigan student groups honor Marines killed in helicopter crash

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. – They are heroes lost, but never forgotten as Western Michigan University student groups honored the Michigan Marines killed in a helicopter crash last week.

Broncos for Heroes and the WMU Student Veterans Association organized three banners to be signed and delivered with messages of condolences to the three Special Operations Marines killed from Michigan.

Students, staff, and community members walked across WMU’s campus to sign each banner. Marine Staff Sergeant Andrew Seif was a Holland native. Seif is one of the seven Special Operations Marines and four soldiers killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash during training in dense fog off the Florida coast.

Earlier in March, Seif received the Silver Star Medal, the military’s third highest award for valor.

Staff Sergeant Trevor Blaylock was from Lake Orion, he was a husband and a father. Staff Sergeant Marcus Bawol of Warren was engaged to be married in October.

“Life is precious anywhere and these people have spent many years of their lives working on especially being special operators to protect those in more extreme environments than like the (other Marines) would go to,” said Aaron Stieglitz, WMU Student Veterans Association member. “The fact that they did that is testament to their character.”

The student groups will send the three, signed banners to the fallen Marines’ unit at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. Then this unit will present the banners to the Marines’ families.

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