Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield donned a custom pair of cleats this past Sunday featuring a portrait of Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Maxton “Max” Soviak, one of 13 U.S. personnel killed during the Aug. 26 suicide bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Looking for a way to pay tribute to the 22-year-old Navy veteran from Berlin Heights, Ohio, Mayfield reached out to artist Marcus Rivero. The collaboration yielded a custom pair of shoes featuring Soviak in his Navy uniform alongside the words, “Rest In Peace Navy Corpsman Maxton Soviak.”
“When @bakermayfield reached out to have these made for an American hero I knew we had to make it happen,” Rivero wrote in an Instagram post Sunday.
Soviak was assigned to the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Regiment when he deployed to assist evacuation efforts in Kabul alongside other rapid-response detachments.
In the wake of the Aug. 26 ISIS-K attack at the airport’s Abbey Gate, Soviak’s commanding officer told the corpsman’s family he had been providing assistance to an Afghan mother and child at the time of the explosion.
“The last thing he said to me was ‘Nothing too crazy going on,’ which is typical Max,” Soviak’s sister Marilyn said. “He always thought he was invincible, and I guess we kind of did, too. He died doing what he was passionate about, surrounded by his brothers, and that brings me some peace.”
Soviak’s remains were returned to Ohio Sept. 8. He was laid to rest Sept. 13 in the nearby town of Milan following a memorial service at Edison High School, the sailor’s alma mater.
Navy Times reporter Diana Stancy Correll contributed to this report.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.