Jul 4, 2011

We Lost a Friend Today

This Fourth of July, our family lost a friend, teammate and schoolmate.  My son's friend was killed in a car accident early Monday morning.  

Eric left a lasting impression on the people he met. He was all smiles, a great sense of humor and just a cool kid to be around.  For the past couple of years, I had the pleasure of sitting at my son's sporting events with Eric's grandparents, Dorris and George, his mom Colleen and his little sister Michaela.  Although I knew Eric's family more than him, I felt like I knew Eric really well.  

He was the kind of kid who did things and told jokes and left such an impression on his teammates, that my son frequently came home from practice or games with "guess what Colligan did today" stories.  I knew Eric through his jokes although I heard them all second hand. 

Eric was a year younger than my son and attended McKee with him.  There are many McKee athletes who had to travel from St. George to Staten Island Tech everyday for practice for Baseball,  Football and every other sport.  It was a trek for these kids and they did it everyday just to be on their sports teams.  Eric was in Baseball with Jack and a year behind him in Football.  Last year the football team went to the championship game and a few junior varsity players were moved up to varsity for the game.  Eric was moved up.  This year, although still a sophomore, he was moved up to varsity in baseball as well.  This kid could pitch.  

I saw Eric and his family last week at the Old Bermuda Inn for the year end baseball diner.  The coach made a short speech about each player and when he got to Eric, we all had  a laugh when the coach asked why everyone thought Eric was cute.  Eric was cute.  His birthday would have been in a few weeks, he would have been 16.  His mom was telling us how he wanted a sour 17 next year instead of a sweet sixteen. 

At the end of the night, Eric walked around giving out hugs to him teammates.  When he hugged my son Jack, I said, "see you are cute."  He just smiled and we left.  We walked out with his family and said goodnight.

The crash took more than one life. I only knew Eric personally, but we send our condolences to the other  members of the Iliopoulos family. They lost Elias and Chrystoph, who were also too young to leave this earth. 

This will be the first funeral my son has to attend for someone he knew so well.  Tonight was also the first time he had to tell someone else about a death. He ran into another teammate who didn't know while watching fireworks at the Staten Island Yankees. Kids shouldn't have to go through this, ever.

RIP Eric, we will miss you.
Love the Rozak Family

Eric Pitching at Curtis 2011 
MSIT baseball awards dinner June 29, 2011 Old Bermuda Inn

All photos copyright of The VNPs and Nick Rozak

From SILive.com:

Eric R. Colligan, 15, of Grant City, died from injuries he sustained in apre-dawn car accident Monday on the Garden State Parkway in Holmdel, N.J. 

Born in Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze, Eric was raised in Grant City. 

He was a student at McKee High School, St. George, where he played on the baseball team and the varsity football team. 

An athletic teenager, family said Eric enjoyed playing football, baseball and handball. He also enjoyed biking and playing video games. 

He also enjoyed spending quality time with his friends and family. 

“He was known as a good kid with a great personality and sense of humor,” said his stepfather, Nicholas Colella. 

Eric was a lifelong parishioner of St. Christopher’s R.C. Church, Grant City. 

Surviving are his mother, Coleen Colella; his stepfather, Nicholas Colella; his father, Luis Sanchez; three sisters, Michaela, Destiny and Angelica; and his grandparents, George and Dorris Eisler, and Giovanni and Christine Colella. 

The funeral will be Saturday from the Colonial Funeral Home, New Dorp, with a mass at 10 a.m. in St. Christopher’s R.C. Church, Grant City. Burial will be in Moravian Cemetery, New Dorp.

1 comment:

  1. rest.in.peace Eric Colligan<3
    You were the one person I went to for anything!