Alumnus, war vet to be honored in memorial race

The Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations plan to sponsor a 5K Memorial Walk/Run for Whitehead School alumnus Captain Gregory T. Dalessio on Dec. 4.

Captain Dalessio, a ’00 and ’04 Seton Hall graduate of Cherry Hill, N.J., was killed on June 23, 2008 during his second tour of duty in Iraq, according to a memorium on the University’s website.

He died of wounds sustained in Salman Pak, Iraq, according to the American Legion, post 372, website.

This is the third year the friends and family of Captain Dalessio will honor him by hosting the 5K Memorial Walk/Run.

“The 5K brings people together like Greg did if just for a morning,” Timothy Pagano, Dalessio’s younger brother, said in an e-mail interview. “People get to enjoy the company of each other while remembering Greg and all others who lost their lives overseas.”

According to Elizabeth Bakes, assistant dean of External Affairs for the Whitehead School, last year Dalessio’s family and friends donated $10,000 raised by the Memorial Walk to Seton Hall to start the Captain Gregory T. Dalessio Memorial Scholarship.

“This scholarship is given to Whitehead School upperclassmen who demonstrate financial need, academic excellence and servant leadership, the same kind of leadership that Greg demonstrated in college and in combat,” Bakes said.

According to Bakes, Captain Dalessio majored in education as an undergraduate and had completed graduate courses in Diplomacy and International Relations before beginning his career in the military. He was also employed at Seton Hall in the admissions office before leaving to serve for his first army base in Baumholder, Germany.

“Seton Hall is the beneficiary of the 5K, and this year we are making an effort to participate in the 5K,” Bakes said.

This year, the walk will be held at the Catholic community of Christ our Light Church in Cherry Hill, according to a University web page about the walk.

All proceeds go to the Seton Hall scholarship in Dalessio’s honor.

According to the website created in Dalessio’s honor, Dalessio’s younger brother, Timothy Pagano, describes the fallen soldier as “a hero to his family, demonstrating how others are supposed to be treated and how to love unconditionally.”

Family was very important to Dalessio, according to Pagano.

“He loved spending time with his family, this is something he cherished the most,” Pagano said. “Everytime he was home on leave, he made it a point to spend quality time with his brothers and sisters. He was very selfless in the way he treated his seven younger siblings.”

Pagano said the 5K walk/run reflects who his brother was as a person.

“The 5k run is not only to keep the memory of my brother alive, but it speaks volumes of the kind of person he was,” Pagano said. “Greg was very good at bringing people together and making them feel important and loved. No matter who he was with, you were the most important person to him when he was with you.”

Members of the American Legion, post 372, in Cherry Hill and other members of the community will line the walk/run route with American flags the day before the race, according to the post’s website.

The flags are used to give directions to the runners, who run through the Knollwood section of Cherry Hill, where Captain Dalessio grew up.

The American Legion plans to participate in the walk this year, along with Dalessio’s family, friends and supporters of the race, according to the post’s website. Pagano is listed as a contact for this year’s race.

The walk will begin at 8 a.m. The website said registration for the walk is open to anyone who wishes to participate at the price of $25.

Rawan Eewshah can be reached at rawan.eewshah@student.shu.edu

Author: Staff Writer

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