Saturday, July 13, 2024

Avenue of Heroes: James Philip Buriak

Prepared by: Megan Buriak (wife)

AWS1 James Philip Buriak, USN, died August 31, 2021, in LOOSEFOOT 616 with four other crew members off the coast of San Diego. Jimmy served as a naval aircrewman rescue swimmer (AWS) with HSC-8.

Jimmy was born on May 9, 1990, in Salem, Virginia. He graduated from Salem High School and then Roanoke College in 2012. He joined the Navy in 2017 and spent time training in both San Diego and Pensacola before being assigned to HSC-8 in Coronado. He deployed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt for two consecutive tours and multiple detachments before transferring to 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, was not only a husband but a soul mate to his wife, and a beloved son and brother. Jimmy avidly did CrossFit and would put your endurance and strength to task. He prided himself on physical fitness and being able to protect his family, and others if needed. The best example of his courage, heroism, and ability to live up to the motto “So Others May Live” occurred when he got his first save at Gun Beach, Guam, on February 8, 2020, while off duty. He earned the Navy Commendation Medal for his actions. Jimmy loved his family and lived everyday 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 James 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; and 10) Don’t do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” Franklin D. Roosevelt


The Avenue of Heroes military service recognition program is sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 261 hometown heroes to date. On May 18, 2024, another 16 were honored. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation.
In 2011, the program was inspired spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly and the local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. That moment made clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes.
That spontaneous beginning launched the program in May 2015 with 18 banners. The Avenue of Heroes is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to the country.



Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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