Marine recruit Kristian Gashaj is in a coma, after a fall from a 2-story building on the Marine base on Parris Island in South Carolina.
The 18-year-old Sterling Heights native was active in his church, Our Lady of Albanians in Southfield.
“Kristian and his family, they’re great people to help in our church activities. They volunteer every time we have festivals and all kinds of meetings at church. I know Kristian in person and he is a great guy, very active, very energetic,” said Valentino Lumaj, parishioner.
A 2016 graduate of Sterling Heights High School, Gashaj had started basic training just days before the accident.
In an unrelated incident, another Marine recruit on Parris Island died this past Friday.
Earlier this year, Taylor native, 20-year-old Raheel Siddiqui also died, after being injured in a fall from a 40-foot stairwell, also in basic training on Parris Island.
His death was ruled a suicide, but further investigation revealed severe verbal and physical abuse may have played a part in his death.
Meanwhile, those who know Kristian Gashaj are hoping someday he will recover.
“We all hope that he will get better soon. We pray for him every day,” said Lumaj. “The whole parish prays for him.”