The AWS1 James Buriak Foundation

So Others May Live

We are an all-volunteer military and military spouse organization dedicated to providing pre-mishap education and immediate post-mishap support for the Navy and Marine Corps Aviation community and their families.

In addition to providing immediate support, we also provide resources for child care, relieving immediate financial burdens and initial help and planning.

Our Story

AWS1 James “Jimmy” Philip Buriak, USN, died 31 August 2021 in a Naval helicopter crash off the coast of San Diego. Where he served as a naval aircrewman rescue swimmer (AWS) with HSC-8. The legacy of a hero is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. This foundation was created in the wake of Jimmy’s death as a way to honor him and his memory but also keep his purpose alive – to help others. Jimmy served as a rescue swimmer whose motto is, “So others may live.” We’ve embraced this motto for the foundation and it’s the purpose of being there every day, but on your worst possible day, knowing that we are here to walk that journey with you.

Our mission is to ensure the sacrifces of those in the aviation community are honored and those that are left behind are supported, empowered and continue to be part of the community.

James Buriak in Helicopter
James Buriak Hanging From Helicopter

Outreach Programs

A Note From Our Founder

AWS1 Buriak got his first rescue off the coast of Gun Beach Guam while ported on deployment from the USS Theodore Roosevelt. When asked about saving a drowning tourist off duty he stated, “I just happened to be the person there and I would like to think that regardless of who it was, they would have done the same. Someone said they needed help, and anyone would do the same in my shoes.”

Jimmy took his final flight on LOOSEFOOT 616 8/31/21 when he went down off the coast of San Diego. Not only did we lose him, but we also lost 4 other amazing people that day. Since that day, I’ve made it my life mission to honor the life my husband lived and create a legacy for him that will long outlive my days. I have since opened a non- profit for him, The AWS1 James Buriak Foundation, as well as a scholarship at Roanoke College, in Virginia.

The foundation provides pre-mishap education and post mishap support to the Navy and Marine Corps and their families. The foundation also offers information, referrals, and serve as advocacy support for every Gold Star family.

My goal is to have my husband remembered by how he lived and not by how he died. I will spend each of my days continuing to live like him and striving to help others.

Megan Buriak

Gold Star Wife of AWS1 James Buriak

LOOSEFOOT 616 08.31.2021