Jeff Proietti, Rest In Peace

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Author’s note: I originally published this on the GORUCK Tough (GRT) Group hours after the tragic events occurred Saturday morning. I have made a few minor edits to that original post, primarily to add clarity and fundraising links.

This is devastating news to report. During the Syracuse GORUCK Challenge Class 1,032 that began May 16th, 2014 at 2100 hrs, Jeff Proietti (a prior GRT) was fatally struck by a vehicle. His brother Craig was in the same class. Jeff’s wife and family have been notified and currently the Cadre and several GRT’s are with his family.

Here are the facts as we know them at this time as they relate to the incident:

  • Cadre Brian was the Cadre for this event. Most of these facts come directly from his deposition to local law enforcement made after the tragedy occurred.
  • The incident occurred at approximately 6:43 am Saturday, May 17, 2014.
  • Environmental Conditions at time of incident:  52 degrees, daylight, clear skies, unlimited visibility.
  • The class, consisting of 15 people plus the Cadre, was carrying three large, visible flags with them.
  • Incident area specifics:  Two lane road.  One side of the road had a retaining wall nearly against the road (prohibiting travel against traffic), the other side of the road had a shoulder, gravel and grass.
  • Cadre Brian was positioned at the rear of the class to monitor them. His assessment is that at the time of incident Jeff did not appear fatigued and was in full control of the class.
  • Event Narrative:  Jeff was designated as the Team Leader approximately 20 minutes prior to the incident.  Class was traveling with traffic and in single file, participant was on the gravel and notifying the class of traffic from the rear.  Jeff had just notified the Cadre and class of a vehicle from the rear when the incident occurred.  The Cadre described a vehicle swerving onto the gravel and striking Jeff and only Jeff. The car was feet away from striking the entire class, to include the Cadre.
  • When the incident occurred, the following actions occurred simultaneously:
    1. Cadre called 911.
    2. (1) class participant chased down the vehicle.
    3. (4) class participants, including an EMT, began treating Jeff.
  • The class participant that chased down the vehicle approached the driver who informed him that he had fallen asleep at the wheel.
  • The class participants continued to treat Jeff.
  • Law Enforcement arrived 6 minutes after the incident. They apprehended the driver of the vehicle, and began their priorities of work. There is no further update on the status of the driver. Please show restraint of judgement against the driver.
  • Emergency Medical Services arrived 8 minutes after the incident and moved Jeff to a local hospital.
  • Cadre Brian provided a deposition and ensured that Law Enforcement had all the information that they requested.
  • Jeff was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the hospital.

Jeff was a husband and a father to a daughter and two sons, one of them a newborn. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. My heart is broken for them and may he rest in peace. The family’s only request currently is that we hold a memorial GORUCK Event for Jeff at some point in the future. Obviously this will happen.

To donate to money for the benefit of Jeffrey Proietti’s children, there are two options:

(1) Online at The Jeff Proietti Memorial Family Fund. Find it here.
(2) Mail checks to Jeff’s wife at the following address:
Rebecca Proietti, C/O Solvay Bank
1537 Milton Ave.
Solvay, NY 13209

Additional information:
Jeff’s official obituary here.
Local press story here.

Wake and Funeral Information
Wake: Friday, May 23 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Whelan Bros & Hulchanski Funeral Home, 5854 Belle Isle Rd, Syracuse, NY 13209.
Funeral: 9 a.m. Saturday, May 24 at Holy Family Church, 127 Chapel Dr, Syracuse, NY 13219.
Jeff will be cremated, not buried.

Note: All are invited to the funeral Saturday morning. I will be there. There will be a GRT gathering Friday night after the wake. Details coming soon.

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