Friday, July 27, 2007

Michael Baloga reported killed in Iraq

The family of Army Private Michael Baloga, who grew up in Everett, says he has been killed in Iraq.

"He was probably my best friend," says Baloga's sister, Leah Valade. "He was the last person I would expect or want anything bad to happen to. I was really upset because I know the risks involved with him going over there, but I was really proud he took the initiative to do something he wanted to do with his life."

After graduating from Sequoia High School in Everett, Baloga worked construction.

Then his daughter, Isis, came along. Wanting to give her more than he could at the time, he joined the Army.

On his Myspace page, Baloga wrote that two of his goals in life were to watch his daughter graduate and give his daughter away at her wedding.

"The whole reason he went into it was pretty much for his daughter," said Valade.

Baloga was a cavalry scout at Fort Hood, Texas. He shipped out just about a year ago to Camp Normandy in Northern Iraq.

Every few weeks, he'd send his family an email update.

"Every time he'd come back from a mission, he'd tell me, 'I'm back, I'm okay, you can stop worrying now,'" said Valade.

Exactly what happened Thursday that killed Baloga was not immediately clear. All Valade knows is that there was some sort of explosion and her brother died.

Not just a brother, but a friend.

"Make sure you tell the people you love, that you love them everyday, because you never know when they're going to be gone," said Valade.

The Baloga family is gathering in Idaho, where Baloga's father lives. No funeral arrangements have been made.

From KING 5