28-year-old Marine Corps veteran, Mateo Gaviria, died as result of a car accident on the Merritt Parkway, on Dec. 23, 2023. Gaviria was an undergraduate student at Sacred Heart University, while also employed in the IT department.
Gaviria crashed into the concrete median of the highway and exited his vehicle around 10:30 p.m. A car on the highway crashed into the back of Gaviria’s stopped vehicle in the left lane of the highway. One of the involved cars struck Gaviria, where he was pronounced dead on the scene.
At 2 p.m. on Jan. 31, members of the Sacred Heart community and friends of Gaviria gathered in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit for a memorial service in honor of him.
The service featured multiple speakers including coworker and friend of Gaviria, Santiago Cañas Jimenez.
The service was concluded with the reading of a letter from Gaviria’s mother to Gaviria, following his death. The letter was read aloud by Sacred Heart President, Dr. John Petillo.
“I will say now what I always used to say to you. Mateo, you are an eagle. Therefore, make sure you fly high and very far. And when you want to come back, remember that here is your mom to heal all your wounds, to listen to your adventures, to laugh alongside you and to repeatedly tell you how much I love you. So again, don’t forget,” Petillo read.