Monday, July 30, 2007

Michael Baloga remembered

EVERETT - Michael Baloga was willing to die to give his daughter a better life.

Baloga, 21, of Everett abandoned construction work so he could join the Army. After putting in his time, he planned on going to school, then launching a career so he could provide for his 1-year-old daughter, Isis.

He wanted to see her grow into womanhood. On his Myspace Web page, Baloga wrote that two of his biggest goals were to watch Isis graduate, and to give her away at her wedding.

Baloga, a private, died Thursday in Iraq after his convoy delivering medical supplies was attacked, his sister, Leah Valade of Marysville, said.

Valade lost her brother and her best friend, she said.

"I was really worried about him going into the military," she said. "I knew the risks that were involved, especially in going right now."

Baloga, a Sequoia High School graduate, is survived by two sisters and a brother in Everett. Valade lives in Marysville. Family members are gathering at his father's house in Idaho to plan memorial services.

A trust fund for Isis is being arranged, Valade said. So is a memorial service for Baloga's friends and family in Everett, she said.

"The most important thing in all his life was his family, and ... Isis," Valade said.

The military sent Baloga to Iraq last November, three days after Isis' first birthday.

Using the Internet, he managed to stay in regular contact with family and friends. He and Valade communicated almost daily, she said.

The last time they talked to each other was Monday. Baloga asked her to send a package of candy and baby wipes, which soldiers use to clean themselves in the field.

"The family fully supported him," Valade said. "Michael was a considerate person, the best friend you could possibly ask for."

Baloga enjoyed music, dancing and going to raves in the Seattle area. He was friends with the six people who were gunned down at a house party on Capitol Hill in March 2006.

When he was young, he dreamt of becoming a marine biologist. He loved the ocean, Valade said.

Baloga got married during the summer of 2005. He and his wife - Isis' mother - were going through an amicable divorce when he died.

He turned his life around when Isis came into his world, Valade said.

Since his death, friends and family have left several messages on his Myspace page. In a blog entry dated June 24, Baloga urged people to remember that life goes on, no matter what happens.

"The past is the past," he wrote. "It doesn't change. All you can do is trudge (through) it and keep on going."

From the Everett Herald

Related Link:
Michael Baloga reported killed in Iraq