Abington Pulls Together

And fights through a series of tragedies

Abington Students Honor Sgt. Daniel M. Vasselian as his funeral procession passes

Shannen Mahoney, Contributor

Abington Students Honor Sgt. Daniel M. Vasselian as his funeral procession passes

Alex Tempesta, Contributor

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Thousands of people came out of their homes and lined the streets in the freezing cold all the way from Boston to Abington on Thursday December 26 to welcome home Sgt. Daniel M. Vasselian, a son, brother, cousin, husband, friend and hero. There was a sea of red, white, and blue all over town.  The procession only took about 10 minutes, but in that time about 100 police cars from many towns and counties along with police motorcycles, fire departments, fellow Marines and Vasselian’s family and friends passed by the many onlookers. Danny Vasselian was serving his third tour of duty and was set to come home to Abington in early March. His life was cut short at age 27 after he was ambushed in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.  We never realized the magnitude of a fallen solider until Vasselian passed.

Sgt Daniel M. Vasselian

Sgt Daniel M. Vasselian

 

Vasselian was buried next to Jeremy Russell at Mount Vernon cemetery in Abington. They were former classmates and graduated in 2004. Jeremy passed away in 2009 tragically at the age of 23. Just as with Sgt. Vasselian, the town rallied together to celebrate and support each other like they have done with the many other tragedies this town has seen in recent times. These include the untimely deaths of Makayla Guerriero, Jeremy Weston, Samantha Theodore, Amy Whitman, Joey Glynn, Kerry Walsh, Mark Chirokas, Elaine Kelliher, Tom McIsaac, Brian Cherry and many others. The days that followed were sad and mournful, but the grief was lessened by how quickly the community came together. Whether you knew them or not, you were affected in some way because someone you knew had the great opportunity of knowing them.

Three summers ago Nick Malafronte broke two vertebrae in his neck diving into the pool at Island Grove; he was paralyzed from the chest down.  With the town’s support, thousands were raised at events and fundraisers to help with Nick’s recovery. There was also a fundraiser for Vasselian (started by his friend and fellow AHS alumna Nikki Cutter) to help his family. The goal was $5,000, but in just 24 hours donations reached $40,000 and have since risen to nearly $68,000. That outcome is incredible.

You feel safe in this town because everyone watches each other’s back”

— Alex Tempesta

Growing up in Abington is like growing up in no other town.  We rally together in times of need, but what makes this town so admirable is that people always help no matter what. They just do it. For instance, Eddie Bailey, from Bailey’s Garage, always helps the school with car washes and fundraisers.  Builder Glenn LaPointe and the highway department always go above and beyond to prep events for the town. The turnout for the annual Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Road Race and all the people who help set it up is astonishing considering Mr. Coombs passed away 13 years ago.  The race this year was even more special because Carlos Arredondo, a hero from the Boston Marathon bombing was there and was recognized for his courage.  All the people who come out and support sports by coming to the games or making donations to teams and clubs which help pay for sub varsity sports, and all the sponsors around town  show how everyone is involved. The Abington Depot, Abington Bank, Lorena’s Studio of Hair, J&L Homestyle Deli, The Abington Ale House, Sub Galley and Reilly Law Office just  to name a few.  You feel safe in this town because everyone watches each other’s back whether they’re best friends or strangers. No matter how far you grow apart you’ll always have your roots. This town’s roots run very deep.

 

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