This could be YOUR Digital Collegian Ad!

This could be YOUR Digital Collegian Ad!

Check out the Classifieds On-line

  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Monday, Nov. 26, 2001 ]

Family, friends remember WTC victim

Collegian Staff Writer

They come as rolls of undeveloped film from a family homecoming to Peru; thankful messages from a community service agency where he volunteered in New York; cross-country calls from people he met briefly on business trips, sometimes just once.

They are pieces of the life of David Suarez, and his family and friends are still trying to fit them together, sifting through the emotional fallout more than two months after most of the actual dust has settled.

Suarez, the youngest of nine Penn State alumni to die in the World Trade Center attacks, was by most accounts a humble guy. He didn't always boast of the things he did, and his family is still surprised to hear about parts of his life they barely knew.

"David's stuff is all still in his room; you can go in there and find a picture or a letter, and open up a new side to him," said David's older brother, Bryan Suarez, 28. "I don't think there are many people who met him and didn't leave with some kind of unique experience."

David's parents knew that he served in soup kitchens, for instance, but it took a phone call from the nonprofit group New York Cares for them to discover that he also tutored high school students for college entrance exams in his spare time.

"Above all that Dave did to better the world, his humble nature is what truly attracted people to him," said Terry Boles, president of Kappa Alpha Order, 234 E. Beaver Ave., where the younger Suarez used to be a fraternity member.

As a testament to the value David placed on education, his family and his friends at Kappa Alpha have established a scholarship fund in his memory.

One grant will be awarded to a graduating senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School outside Princeton, N.J. Another scholarship will go to a Penn State student who participates in some of the same groups as David did, before he graduated in 1999 with a degree in industrial engineering.

"These scholarships are just a small way to keep his memory alive," Boles said.

There was a time when David thought about channeling his caring energies into the Peace Corps, his brother said, but he decided in the end that there were people around him in the city where he lived who might benefit from his talents and money.

A systems consultant with Deloitte Consulting, David was in the 99th floor office of his client Marsh & McLennan when the towers fell.

His hope had been to start working towards an M.B.A. next fall.

Suarez, who would have turned 25 in October, was also looking forward to being best man at the wedding of his college friend and roommate, Bryan Beabout.

"I'm not sure how to move on now that Dave is gone," said Beabout, who teaches at a high school in New Orleans. "Every time I think about my wedding, there he is. Neither Laura (his fiancée) nor I know how to get around it."

Beabout valued David as a confidant, and enjoyed having him down to visit for jazz festivals and Mardi Gras. So many things, Beabout said, now remind him of his friend -- from romantic movies to Thanksgiving Day parades to the nightly news.

"I've collected articles and memories of Dave over the last two months. They help remind me that this really did happen and I'm not imagining it," he said in an e-mail. "It's tough because the one person I turned to when I had something on my mind was Dave."

For David's family, celebrating Thanksgiving last weekend was at once comforting and saddening.

"I think there was a sense in the air that something was different," his brother said, but the passing time also allowed them to "laugh about some of the stupid, funny times, too."

As he looks back, some of Bryan Suarez's favorite memories of his brother were forged over a week about two years ago while backpacking in the wilds of northwestern Canada.

"To be absolutely secluded from the whole world -- no cell phones, no pagers, just mountains -- was absolutely incredible," he said. "I just think about all the conversations we had around campfires. . . . It was very pure."



Search default: Exact phrase, not case sensitive.
Options: AND, NEAR, OR, AND NOT. Power search
Copyright © 2001 Collegian Inc.
Updated 2001-11-26  21:09:28   -5
Requested 2001-11-27  21:28:45   -5