AWS2 James “Jimmy” Philip Buriak, USN, died at 31 in August 2021, in San Diego, where he served as a naval aircrewman rescue swimmer (AWS) with HSC-8.
Jimmy was born on May 9, 1990, in Salem. A Salem High graduate, Jimmy graduated from Roanoke College in 2012. In 2017, he joined the Navy. He spent time training in San Diego and Pensacola before being assigned to HSC-8 in Coronado, CA. He deployed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt for two back-to-back tours and multiple detachments before departing for the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Jimmy was an uncommon man. He held qualities that could not be given but rather earned. He was an exemplary dad who loved his son, not only a husband but a soulmate to his wife, a beloved son and brother. Jimmy was also an avid crossfitter who would put your endurance and strength to task. He prided himself on physical fitness and being able to not only protect his family, but others if needed.
The best example of his courage, heroism, and ability to live up to the motto “So Others May Live” is when he got his first save at Gun Beach, Guam, on February 8, 2020, while off duty and earned the Navy Commendation Medal. Jimmy loved his family and lived every day like it was his last. He held his friends and family close and built memories that will last a lifetime.
He is survived by his wife Megan, son Caulder Philip, parents James and Carol Buriak, sister Laura and brother-in-law Eric Zickefoose.
Jimmy lived by these rules for success: 1. Do the work, don’t be lazy. 2. Stop waiting, it is time. 3. Rely on yourself, the universe doesn’t care. 4. Be practical, success is not a theory. 5. Be productive early. 6. Don’t be a baby, life is hard – get on with it. 7. Don’t hang out with halfwits. 8. Don’t waste energy on things you cannot control 9. Don’t be a people pleaser. 10. Don’t do the same thing over and over and expect things to happen.
“Those who have enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them,” – Franklin Roosevelt