SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Family and friends of Gunnery Sgt. Derik Holley say he was a man of service. The Miramar Marine was one of four killed in a helicopter crash near El Centro during a training exercise on Tuesday.
"It's unreal. It breaks your heart," Holley's friend, Dan Hark, said. "The first thing I thought of was his son and his wife."
Hark knew Holley for more than a year. Hark was his trainer at NXPT Fitness in Kearny Mesa. Hark says Holley went there religiously with his wife and son.
Hark says Holley was very intense when it came to his fitness, taking part in grueling obstacle course races, including one last month. Hark says Holley's passion for his family and health was matched only by his deep commitment to serving his country.
"He was proud to serve, I mean no matter where you stand on political views, I mean you have to respect these people who go to battle every day," he said. "He knew what he did was dangerous and he just accepted it as his role to protect us."
Hark has not been able to make contact with Holley's family since the helicopter crash but wanted to do something to help. He and his gym started a GoFundMe page for Holley's wife and son.
"We felt we just needed to do something for the family," he said.