Family remembers airman killed at Keesler Air Force Base married just one month ago
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The Keesler Airman who lost his life this week was a newlywed, who just celebrated his one-month anniversary two days before the tragic accident.
Friday, authorities identified the Airman as Daniel Germenis. He and his wife, Verity, were originally from Bastrop, Texas but chose to begin their lives as a married couple here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, with a wedding ceremony on the beach June 26, 2021.
Germenis died Wednesday after being struck by a vehicle on base, said officials. Three others were also injured in that crash.
Germenis’s mother, Annie Germenis described her son as a patriot with a bold personality.
“His life will impact generations,” said Annie. “He only lived for 20 years, but the fruit of his life will impact generations.”
Germenis was following in the footsteps of his two older brothers by joining the Air Force.
“He always wanted to serve his country and make a difference,” said Annie. “I always said I was probably raising a president, but he was always committed to everything he did, committed to the very end.”
Germenis’s mother-in-law, Stella Smith, told WLOX News the family has been touched by the outpouring of love they’ve received from his fellow Airmen.
“He will be missed more than any words can express,” Smith said. “He left a mark of love and light in the lives of all he touched.”
Some of the words Smith used to describe her son-in-law included: “Integrity. Laughter. Courageous. Honorable. High energy. Comedian. Prankster.”
“Whatever he did he was all in... I love how he loved my daughter. In their time together they both grew in all aspects of their lives.”
Germenis was assigned to Keesler Air Force Base’s 336th Training Squadron as a technical student studying cyber systems operations.
“The Airmen of the 336th Training Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base are devastated by this tragedy,” said Lt Col Ken Hirose, the 336 TRS commander. “Daniel was a model Airmen who was well-known throughout the organization for his enthusiasm and joyous spirit. He was a wingman to all of us and our thoughts are with his family.”
“Team Keesler is devastated by the passing of one of our Airmen,” said Col. Bill Hunter, 81st Training Wing commander. “Every Airman matters at Team Keesler and has a vital role in our mission in support of national defense. We express our deepest sympathies to Daniel’s family, friends and Training Group team. He will be deeply missed.”
On Thursday, Emmett J. Bennett, 24, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and operation of a vehicle while impaired causing death. He’s already made his initial appearance before a judge in Gulfport.
Two of the injured men were treated at the Keesler Medical Center. The third was taken to a medical facility in New Orleans. All three are currently in stable condition.
The cause of the vehicle accident is still under investigation.
Those in need of counseling resources can contact a base chaplain, the mental health professionals, military and family life counselors, unit first sergeants and their chain of command. Phone numbers for most resources can be found on the official Keesler Air Force Base App or at www.keesler.af.mil.
Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday, August 5th in his hometown of Bastrop, TX.
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