By Sara-Megan Walsh
A Facebook post had the power to unite a community to make sure a former East Northport resident didn’t make his final journey alone.
More than 400 veterans, servicemen and Northport-East Northport community members attended the funeral mass of Saverio DeLaurentis at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church to honor his life and military service Sept.1.
DeLaurentis, 85, died in August. He was a U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Korean War aboard the aircraft carrier the USS Oriskany, according to old newspaper clippings. DeLaurentis’ final wishes were to have his funeral at St. Anthony’s of Padua followed by a burial at Calverton National cemetery, according to Jean Chiovarelli, co-chair of the ministry of consolation at St. Anthony’s of Padua.
“We found out he had no immediate family or friends,” Chiovarelli said. “We thought no one would come out to the church. We put some phone calls and emails.”
Chiovarelli started a chain of phone calls to spread the word among the area’s American Foreign Legions and Veteran of Foreign War posts of DeLaurentis’ funeral.
Then, a Facebook post made Aug. 30 by Lorretta Hamann, co-chair of the ministry of consolation at St. Anthony’s of Padua, caught the attention of local residents.
“We received a notice this morning about a funeral mass at 9:45 [a.m.] on Friday for a 85-year-old gentleman,” Hamann wrote. “No family, a court appointed representative made the arrangements. We are calling around to ask anyone who might be available to attend the mass. It would be nice if he didn’t make his last journey alone.”
American Foreign Legion Post 1244 of Greenlawn, American Legion Riders Post 1244 of Greenlawn, Northport Veterans of Foreign Wars, Commack Fire Department, Fire Riders of the City of New York, and several Boy Scouts were among the many who turned out to salute DeLaurentis’ as his casket was carried into the church.
“It’s overwhelming how many people are here to show their love, their support,” said Father Raj Savarimuthu during the funeral mass. “Thank you. Thank you.”
The American Legion Riders were escorting DeLaurentis’ funeral process to Calverton where he will be buried with full military honors.