A Go Fund Me page has been established for the family of Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, one of the U.S. service members killed last week by a suicide bomb attack outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul during the evacuation of American and Afghan civilians.
Merola, 20, was a native of Rancho Cucamonga and a graduate of Los Osos High School.
The mission in Afghanistan was Merola’s first overseas tour. Upon his return he had expected to buy his first car and apply to college, his grandmother, Clarinda Matsuoka, told The Wall Street Journal.
Merola’s decision to go into the military was motivated by his two great-grandfathers who were Korean War veterans, Matsuoka said. “So it’s kind of in his blood. He wanted to serve his country. It’s all he talked about in high school.’’
Merola used to volunteer as a lighting and sound technician when churches or dance groups would rent out the local high school theater, according to Matsuoka.
“Was notified last night, that my little brother, Dylan Merola, who was just deployed for over a week, was one of the casualties of the Kabul airport attack,” David Merola tweeted. “The news is starting to release his name as the 14th military member to pass away. RIP and say hey to Dad and Grandma for me.”
Merola’s mother, Cheryl, described her son as “one of the best kids ever” in an interview with NBC Los Angeles. “Kind, loving … He would give anything for anybody.”
The Go Fund Me page (https://www.gofundme.com/f/lance-corporal-dylan-r-merolas-funeral) was established by Joseph Matsuoka of Rancho Cucamonga, who wrote:
“This fundraiser is from the Matsuoka family to raise funds for Lance Corporal Dylan R. Merola. Dylan was a beloved son, brother, grandson, great-grandson, nephew, a great friend, and a brave Marine who paid the ultimate sacrifice at the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport during the evacuation. Please help us in providing assistance to Dylan’s mother and family to memorialize Dylan as he deserves for serving his country with the highest honor.”
As of Friday afternoon, the page had raised nearly $73,000, far surpassing the goal of $15,000.