Friends of West Point cadet Kade Kurita, 20, from Gardena are fondly remembering him on social media.
Kurita, a member of the Class of 2021, went missing with a rifle last Friday and was found dead on the military academy’s grounds on Tuesday after an extensive search. Officials said that the cause of death is under investigation but that foul play is not suspected.
First and Proud, the official Facebook page of the First Regiment, U.S. Military Academy, posted the following on Oct. 23:
“On Oct. 18, 2019, First Reg lost one of our brothers. Kade Kurita, Co. H1, was a remarkable friend, student, and company mate. If you ever needed a positive word, a helping hand, someone to point out the silver lining, or to give a big thumbs up, Kade was there. If there was anything he was notorious for, it was caring more for his classmates than he did for himself.
“Several H1 firsties remember having to tell him to take care of himself before others, to little avail. He threw himself into everything he did, no holds barred whether it was company Sandhurst, the Cadet Film Forum, classes, or friendships. He brightened the lives of everyone who knew him, and it is up to us to keep that light burning for him.
“We ask that you remember Kade not how he left us, but how he lived – with love in his heart for everyone he came across. Be thou at peace, Kade.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) posted, “I’m heartbroken to hear the news about Cadet Kade Kurita. I’m praying for his family, his fellow cadets, and everyone who knew and loved him. And I’m grateful for the first responders who acted so quickly to provide immediate assistance to West Point.”
Many more tributes can be found on the Remembering Cadet Kade Kurita page, which was established on Facebook on Oct. 24.
A Go Fund Me campaign for Kurita’s family has been set up by Sandra Carey, a Class of 2021 mom, who wrote: “I knew Kade, if only briefly. My son was Kade’s roommate and good friend. Our hearts are broken and we are desperately grieved for Kade’s mom, Anita Mato, and her five children.
“In the short time since R Day (Receiving Day), Kade won our hearts. He was quick-witted with a warm smile and a generous heart. He was a good friend to my son and will be deeply missed by those who knew him.
“While the soldiers of the 23d MP Company, members of the N.Y. State Police, U.S. Army Garrison West Point, U.S. Military Academy personnel, and many others conducted a thorough search, the whole West Point community came together and raised our prayers en masse that Kade would be found safe. We prayed for his mom that she would have strength and support. The outcome was our worst fears realized.
“Kade is no longer with us, but Kade’s family is our family. It’s a legacy Kade earned and a promise we will keep.
“I am coming to you to ask you to join me in supporting his mom, Anita Mato, and her five children (ages 12, 13, 17, 22, and 27) so they can meet their financial obligations while they are recovering from this terrible shock. On my honor, all proceeds go directly to Kade’s immediate family. Any donation helps. Thank you, in advance, for your support.
“Kade’s memory will live on in the hearts of those who knew him. We will cherish his memory. We love you and miss you, Kade.”
As of Friday evening, more than $28,000 had been raised toward the $50,000 goal.