(Patriot.Buzz) – In a tragic moment underscoring the uncertainty of life, the Florida community is in mourning following the tragic loss of a 46-year-old Army veteran and beloved local fitness instructor whose body was recently discovered off Vilano Beach.
Eiffel Gilyana, an accomplished individual known for his remarkable endurance and physical prowess, went missing during a canoe surfing trip with friends.
A GoFundMe page set up in his memory captured the profound sense of loss felt by those who knew him. “Words cannot express the hollowness that engulfs us all, the crushing weight of a future forever etched with his absence.” The fundraiser quickly raised over $70,000, reflecting the deep impact Gilyana had on his community.
Gilyana’s journey to the United States is a testament to his bravery and dedication. An Iraqi native, he served as a translator for the U.S. military from 2003 to 2009, a role that eventually led him to settle in Jacksonville, Florida, to escape potential retribution from ISIS for his assistance to U.S. forces.
In Jacksonville, Gilyana established himself as a highly successful fitness instructor, renowned for his grueling endurance marks, including a remarkable 150-mile kayak journey from Miami to Key West. As noted in his bio with the organization, his role as a health coordinator at the local Jewish Community Alliance showcased his commitment and skill.
Adam Chaskin, CEO of the Jewish Community Alliance, expressed his profound sorrow at the loss of Gilyana, highlighting his integral role in the community. “Eiffel wasn’t just the fitness and wellness director at the JCA. He wasn’t just a personal trainer,” Chaskin said. “He became part of people’s families and people became part of his family. He just has such a warm heart and so many people connected so easily, and so well with him over the years.”
Gilyana’s legacy extends beyond his professional accomplishments. He also served as a health and wellness adviser for Task Force Hydro 1, a nonprofit organization that assists veterans and emergency workers.
The GoFundMe page dedicated words to his memory: “We will mourn him deeply, but we will also celebrate the gift of his existence, the light he brought to our world, and the legacy of love he leaves behind.”