A U.S. Navy veteran died in Afghanistan last week from a mortar shell, according to NJ.com.
Kevin Yali, 27, first enlisted in the Navy in 2012 and served four deployments. He was in Afghanistan as an inactive reservist providing private security to American troops when he died on June 19 — less than three weeks after he first arrived in Afghanistan.
The Midland Park, New Jersey native is survived by his parents and his brothers, Oscar Yali and Victor Patrocino. Those close to him described him as a kind and considerate person.
"He used to see homeless guys sitting on the sidewalk, and he says, 'Hold on, I'm going to go to Burger King,'" Yali’s mother Daisy said, according to ABC-affiliate WABC. "And he went and he bought meals."
Yali was friends throughout middle school and high school with Karli Gnhem, the niece of Midland Park Mayor Harry Shortway Jr. Gnhem described Yali as someone who “really cared about everyone and he was very dedicated to anything he put his heart into.”
Afghanistan is where Yali had always wanted to be stationed, she said.
“That’s what he wanted, he wanted to be over there,” Gnhem said, according to NJ.com. “He always wanted to serve his country. He traveled all over the place, wanting to protect everyone back home.”
A service will be held Wednesday in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Flags in Midland Park will fly half-staff until Thursday.