"I thank God for the time we got to spend together," friend Hannibal Smith said about a Marine killed in a helicopter crash near El Centro Tuesday during a training mission. "He was one the strongest men I know.”
Smith is a trainer at NXPT Fitness on Murphy Canyon Road – a gym frequented by Gunnery Sergeant Derik Holley, his wife and son.
Holley, one of four men killed in the crash, was based at MCAS Miramar. He is now being remembered by friends and family as a loving father and husband who was stronger mentally than he was physically.
"We're hurting, we're heartbroken, but we're strong at the same time. You know? And some of that strength comes from him,” Smith told NBC 7.
Smith said the gym is planning a Warrior Challenge in his honor.
"Kasey, his wife, is a living example of the correct things you should do,” Smith said. “So strong. Why I'm able to stand here and not cry is because Kacey wouldn't want me to cry, because she would want us to be happy and to remember the good things, you know? There's so many good things."
A Gofundme page for his family can be found here.