Drew A. Salvato, 25, of Norwalk, is remembered as a hard-working family man, who was passionate about the people in his life, and his job as Darien's Deputy Tree Warden. He died at his home on Friday, Feb. 12, after a 17-month battle with cancer.
"He was a remarkable human being," said his mother, Joan Salvato. "He really was. He was kind, and he would do anything for anyone. Especially a friend. He was so courageous and brave. I don't know how he did it to be honest. He inspired a lot of people."
Mr. Salvato was first diagnosed with cancer in September 2008. In the months following his original diagnosis, Mr. Salvato underwent several surgeries as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
"After he was diagnosed in October 2009 for the third time, and he found out they had nothing they could do for him, he just didn't sit at home, and he didn't sulk and cry. He just went out and he lived his life the best that he could," said his brother, Jonathon Salvato.
During the last few months of Mr. Salvato's life, he went on several trips with his family.
"We went to the Hockey Hall of Fame to see the Stanley Cup, we went to Niagara Falls. He went with his wife and his kids to Las Vegas and California," his brother said. "He always wanted to see the Redwood Trees, and he did."
Mr. Salvato had worked as an arborist for seven years, and his boss, Michael Cotta remembers him as an "incredibly hard worker."
"He enjoyed his work. He was generally concerned about the urban forest in Darien," Cotta said. "He put his mind to something and he was a great worker. He was a pretty courageous tree topper.
"Outside of that, he spent a lot of time with his family. Any time his family might need his help, he was there to help them. He was useful to a lot of people that way. He never turned anyone down; he always did favors for his family."
Mr. Salvato began helping his father at the family lawn business when he was only 7 years old, his father, John Salvato said.
"He was only 7 and driving these big machines," his father said. "Then he went to work at 16, and worked with Mike for 7 years. He was a fast learner, and just an amazing young man.
"His children will know how great he was from the stories and the pictures. This child, this man, was amazing," John Salvato said.
He is survived by his wife, Melissa Siciliano Salvato; his daughter, Angel Mari, 5; and his son, Drew Jr., who was born in September. He is also survived by his brother, Jonathon Salvato; his parents, John and Joan Andronaco Salvato; his in-laws Michael and Mary Ann Siciliano, all of Norwalk; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at St. Matthew Church, 216 Scribner Ave., Norwalk. Burial followed at St. John Cemetery, Norwalk.