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PCT memorial for fallen Israeli soldier a mystery

We recently hiked up Mount Thielsen, and when we reached the Pacific Crest Trail at the base of the summit, we ran across a small, simple memorial for a young man tacked to a downed log along the trail. It said, "Shine on you crazy diamond, Avi Grintzvaig, 1993-2014." Do you know anything about this young man or why it was there?

— Curious hiker

Well, Curious, you piqued our curiosity, as well, so we started with Google, which didn't provide a lot of details — at least not details reliable enough to print in the paper.

Next we logged onto a Facebook site created by 2017 PCT through-hikers and posted a question asking whether anybody could shed light on the memorial.

One helpful hiker told us that Avi is short for Avraham, and she led us to an online obituary from Israel that listed people killed in terror attacks in that country.

According to the site, created by the Israel Prime Minister's Office, "Staff Sergeant Avraham Grintzvaig was killed July 26, 2014, in Gaza. He was a 21-year-old Nahal Brigade fighter from Petach Tikva who was killed during operational activity in northern Gaza.

"He was crazy about the Nahal," said one of his friends, according to the site. "We were frustrated that it was his entire world. He was a gifted musician, played a lot of instruments and loved heavy metal."

"Avraham studied at Rashish Junior High School and later at Golda High School," the site reported. "His girlfriend of three years, Malory, had recently traveled to the United States, and by the time she returned, Avi was no longer home.

"Avraham is survived by his parents, Gideon and Hedva, and his twin sister, Inbal," according to the obituary, and "he was laid to rest in the military cemetery in Petach Tikva."

We did not discover who placed the memorial, or why a soldier from Israel was honored on the PCT in Oregon. But we have a piece of the story, and maybe one of our readers will be able to fill in the blanks.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.