My name is Joe, and I had the honor of calling Dom my best friend. Dom was so much more than just a best friend to me. He was my brother.
I first met Dom on a late summer day over twelve years ago back in 2002. That was our first day of kindergarten at St. Bart’s. Nine years later, we went our separate ways for the first time; I ended up at Prep and he at Gonzaga. As everyone here knows, that is not the best recipe for a friendship, yet somehow we set aside the nearly two-hundred-year-old rivalry and became best friends.
There are so many things I will never forget about Dom: like that time we hit that deer on river road on our way back to Bethesda last spring break, that time we played golf with Dennis, Mike, and Chris at Falls Road, dingers, our late night escapades throughout P-town and B-town, our shared dreams of making it big on Wall Street, the purr of the escape’s powerful v4, those thirty-five bucks he still owed me, the terrible way his car smelled after he spilled milk in it and was too lazy to clean it up, his absolutely gorgeous mullet and its very own twitter account, but, most of all, that beautifully radiant and infectious smile that lit up any room he walked into.
Dom was by far the happiest person I have ever known and will ever know. He never let anything keep him down and always made sure everyone around him shared his happiness. He found a way to make anyone laugh no matter how bad of a mood they were in. I think one of Dom’s other friends put it best on Facebook when he said, “I legitimately have zero memories of something that went bad or a dull moment that happened while I was hanging with you Dom.” Dom loved being around his friends. He loved every second of every day of his life. That’s why he smiled so much.
I find great comfort in knowing that Dom was not only just a happy person in general but that he was happy with what he had achieved in his short seventeen-years here. In his two years on Gonzaga’s varsity hockey team, he won two championship rings, and played a key role in the team’s success, highlighted by an undefeated season last year. Dom had a pretty rough time during his bout with appendicitis this past winter. It hurt him so much to not be able to be out on the ice with his teammates. Once he finally got rid of the appendicitis once and for all, he fought back hard, doing everything he could to get caught up both physically and academically, and then some. He worked so hard that he even made it back onto the ice before the end of the season. I also remember how proud he was this first quarter when he got his best report card ever. He won the battle against appendicitis and all its complications. Dom loved winning, and quite frankly, who doesn’t.
Dom was a legend by every sense of the word, and what a legendary send-off this is. I mean, this is the National Shrine. Two popes have spoken from this very spot where I now stand. I never would’ve thought in my wildest dreams that Dom would have as great a send-off as this. Dom is smiling down knowing he is getting all this attention.
Dom, thanks for the infinite great memories. Thanks for always being there for me and always making me laugh. Finally, thanks for giving me this last great gift of giving this speech to you on the day of my eighteenth birthday. Rest easy all-star, I love you man.