The death of a beloved coach, school security guard and community leader rocked the town of Wolcott Monday. 55-year-old Dave Pelletier passed away unexpectedly at his home.
Wolcott High School, where Pelletier was a security guard, dismissed students early as they and staff mourned his loss. The town held a vigil for Dave Pelletier Monday night and hundreds came out, holding candles and each other.
“The teachers couldn’t even teach, it was that bad,” 11th grader Amanda Brouillard told News 8. “The last thing he ever said to me, which I will hold on for the rest of my life, is that he believes in me, because he knows I can pursue music and then I can be a therapist like I want to be.”
“There was never a time he didn’t make you feel like you were on top of the world every time you came to school,” 11th grader Hayley Romaniello added.
Pelletier was visibly missing from the Woodtick Recreation Area Monday, where he was the director. He also coached the Roberto Clemente travel baseball team and started unified sports at the high school.
Chris Dinunzio knew Pelletier for nearly 30 years and his kids played for him.
“Just what he gave of himself was amazing and he didn’t ask for anything in return other than to see the kids excel and grow as human beings and community members,” Dinunzio said.
Wolcott’s police chief said Dave Pelletier’s character spoke for itself in everything he did to give back to his community and uplift those in it.
“We lost a big piece of town,” Chief Edward Stephens said. “Dave was Mr. Wolcott. Anyone in town, they all knew Dave Pelletier.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Grief counselors are available Monday and Tuesday for any students that wish to talk about Pelletier’s passing. Officials said Pelletier “…had a profound impact on children of all ages through his involvement in town sports.”