Sun shines at memorial Saturday

Sun shines at memorial Saturday

Moriah Howell

A memorial service was held in the gazebo Saturday for Brian Gindlesperger with Delta Chi brother Chi Chan presiding. Gindlesperger was a former UPJ marketing student.

Trevor Monk, Advertising Director

Two Marines in dress uniforms stood straight and somber Saturday before a crowed of approximately 150 people, surrounding the Pitt-Johnstown gazebo.

The crowd was filled with students, family and acquaintances of former  student Brian Gindlesperger.

Those who spoke described Gindlesperger as selfless, kind-hearted and a man with never-ending love.

The sky was overcast and fellow Marine Brad Watts lead a prayer in memory of Brian.

“God, we thank you for Brian’s life Lord God, we thank you for having put us in the presence of a man that was so great, a man that could inspire so many people, that he could do so much for so many people Lord God.

“We thank you for the gift you have given us that was Brian’s life, for his family, for the community that you raised him in.

“Thank you for those peoples’ lives Brian has touched Lord God. We pray in Lord Jesus’ name for him. Amen.”

The crowd was silent except for sniffles and sobs as Watts left the podium.

But as the prayer finished with a collective “Amen” the clouds broke and the sun shined.

The memorial service speakers were filled with close friends, Delta Chi brothers, and Pitt-Johnstown administrators.

Brian’s mother, Barb Gindlesperger spoke of fond memories and times they shared with Brian.

Delta Chi Vice President Chi Chan said the timing of the sunshine was heartwarming. Some said it was eerie as though Gindlesperger was shining through.

“Today is not meant to be sad. It is a day to cherish and reignite the memories of our time with Brian.

Remember how he cared for us, how he loved us and how we still love him today and always.”

Chan recalled a conversation he had with Brain that described the kind of man Brian was.

“Nice guys often do finish last and the jerk usually wins. You can be a jerk to, and you will get what you want, but isn’t it better knowing that you are doing the right thing and being there for that person?

This person may not be grateful for what you have done for them but you still need to continue helping and being there for them when they are in need.

This was type of person Brian Gindelsperger was.”

Delta Chi Brother Kevin McDonald was Brian’s little brother and was unable to attend the memorial services, but prepared a speech read by Chi Chan.

“He would be mad at me for telling this story, but I remember the one time we illegally dove down a road with no lights on only using his night-vision goggles.

It was probably one of the scariest things I have ever done but I would give anything to do it again because we had that much fun doing it.”

“We were all very impressed with Brian’s commitment to serving his country and he stood as an out-standing model of the men and woman who serve in our military,” said External Relations Director Robert Knipple reading after Spectar’s statement.

“I personally was honored to be in his presence and moved by his eloquent sprit to service to his country and impressed with his passion for his fellow citizens.

“It is with heavy heart we say goodbye to such a good friend

“After working closely with Pitt-Johnstown president Jem Spectar for five years, that Monday morning, when I got the call from him, I didn’t know what had happened, but I could tell by his voice he had lost a member of his family.”

Brian’s mother was the last to take the podium. She told stories of Brian’s life while growing up and lead to the story of when he decided to join the Marine Corps.

“Brian was a ordinary kid, until 9-11. It affected so many people as well as Brian.

“That day, he told us he was going to join the United States Marine Corps. He had a lot of reason why he choose the Marine Corps.

“The one that I thought was rather comical was he liked their uniforms. So Semper Fi, once a Marine always a Marine, and god bless all of the men and women who serve our country.”

The ceremony came to close with the unveiling of a plaque in honor of Gindlesperger that is going to be mounted on the new nursing building. Along with the plaque, a tree is going to be planted in memory of Gindlesperger.

The Delta Chi brothers are selling memorial T-shirts for Gindlesperger and all proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warriors Project, a charity that assists disabled veterans with counseling and medical equipment. After the memorial service, Brian’s mother said she forgot to mention this when she was speaking at the service.

“I want to say thanks to the wonderful people at UPJ that took Brian in when he came to UPJ. They became his family and our family; we are grateful for everything they have done.”