“He was always there for you:” The native of Athens remembers a friend who was killed when the Surfside building collapsed

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A native of Northern Alabama recalls his friend and roommate who was killed in the collapse of a condo in Surfside, Florida.

“It was tough. It was really hard to believe, almost impossible at first,” said Stephen Phraner, friend of Andreas Giannitsopoulos, who died when the Surfside building collapsed.

Stephen Phraner is from Athens.

His college friend and roommate, Andreas Giannitsopoulos, died in a condo collapse in Surfside, Florida.

Rescue workers were able to recover his body.

“When they found his body, it definitely struck, because of course you never want to count him dead until it’s absolutely certain,” said Phraner.

Phraner says the two talked about faith, life, and fitness.

“Andreas was one of the most sincere and thoughtful friends I had, especially last year in school. He has an old soul, very tender-hearted,” said Phraner.

And Andreas had an appreciation for all life.

“Interesting hobby of his, he had a pop up greenhouse in his room. He took care of it, he had dozens of these different plants … he was always there for you and was always ready to listen to you and just be there be for you, “said Phraner.

Phraner says he now wants to live for his friend Andreas, who was taken too early.

“His death, even if it’s tough … It really ignites me to make the most of every single day, because really, when you think of it, every day is a gift. We are not promised another day.” he said.

Click here for a link to a GoFundMe for the Giannitsopoulos family.

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