FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. — Twenty-year-old Mackenzie Shay, a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard, was killed over the weekend in a military training accident at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Mackenzie was from New Castle, graduated from Mohawk High School, and was a Junior at Slippery Rock University majoring in safety management.
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Her close friend growing up said she can’t believe Mackenzie is gone.
“I was there when she was born. I babysat her. I watched her grow up entirely, and she was my little baby mini-me,” said Katherine Kohnen.
Kohnen explained why Mackenzie wanted to serve.
“A lot of her family are involved in it, and she went through basic training when she was in high school. She was so proud of it always,” said Kohnen.
Shayla Krepps Lander of Beaver County said she was in the vehicle with Mackenzie during the crash. She described Mackenzie as a great friend, always goofy and positive. Other friends agreed.
“(She was) just super lovable. Everybody loved her. She was the life of the party — always fun, always cracking jokes, and just an amazing person inside and out,” said friend Courtney O’Brien.
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Those closest to Mackenzie said they will miss her terribly.
“I’m going to miss everything about her,” said Kohnen. “She was feisty and assertive and just a beautiful person all over.”
The Slippery Rock University president described the news as heartbreaking and said that Mackenzie’s loss affects us all.
Right now, the university is offering counseling to any students coping with this tragedy.
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