by Jess Solan
Many were shocked this past July to hear of the sudden and tragic loss of Manhattan College student, as well as United States Marines Veteran, Edward Christian DeGuisto.
Fellow students and faculty wanted to have a service on campus to commemorate his loss, and did so on Sept. 12 in the Chapel of De La Salle.
“It is extremely sad losing a friend, fellow student, and someone who did so much for our country,” said Micaela Bishop, student body president.
DeGuisto and Bishop worked together in the Student Government, where DeGuisto was the club’s first Veteran Representative.
Bishop pointed out that because Manhattan College is such a close-knit community and DeGuisto was such an active Jasper, this affects every person on campus who knew him. Yet, she felt the funny stories shared about DeGuisto did shed a positive light upon the day.
David Bollert, Ph.D., of the philosophy department, was one of the speakers at the service, who became close to DeGuisto and eulogized him with a passage from Homer’s “The Odyssey,” a passage De Guisto loved and related to.
The service was led by Father Thomas Franks, and Bollert was one of the five eulogists, which included himself, friends and fellow veterans. All of the speakers gave personal and heartfelt stories about what it was like to be close to DeGuisto.
In regards to how well the service was put together, Bollert said, “a life well-lived was well-honored,” and that being there was “redemptive and reassuring.”
The chorus sang biblical music in DeGuisto’s honor, such as “Amazing Grace,” and the military’s “Taps” song was played at the end of the gathering. DeGuisto’s friends, family, fellow veterans, and even school acquaintances attended. It did stir up emotions of sadness, but those who were there felt that honoring him on campus was the right thing to do and said it made them feel a little bit better.
Fellow United States Marines Veteran and current President of the Manhattan College Student Veteran Organization, Kirsten Battocchio, was a very close friend to DeGuisto, as well as one of his eulogists.
She described him as, “very smart, sarcastic, kind, confident-yet-humble, logical, calming, reassuring, brotherly, competitive, always looking out for and being there for everyone.” She wants everyone to remember him as the “genuinely good guy” that he was.
Richard Satterlee, Ph.D., vice president of student life, described DeGuisto as “talented, charismatic, caring, energetic, and persuasive.”
Those who attended felt that there was a sense of muted happiness between the blend of DeGuisto’s passing and the sweet memories of him shared at the event. Battochio and Bollert both included that his family felt like the ceremony was very personal to DeGuisto and that his life was properly respected. His passing has brought the veterans on campus closer together, and Battocchio wants anybody grieving this loss to know that the veterans are here for them. She, along with Bishop, Satterlee and Bollert urge everyone suffering from grief to seek solace from campus counseling and ministry.
DeGuisto’s name will live on at Manhattan College and he will be long-remembered with love and respect.