Brandon Garabrant was a fine student

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I first knew Brandon as a student in ConVal’s internship program. He was such a genuinely nice guy — personable, polite and very respectful. That counts a lot with me, and it served him well in his internship and at his work, as did his can-do attitude and strong work ethic. I think he was happiest when he was working, helping out and being part of a team. He was the kind of student who was comfortable talking to adults and we talked a lot about his future plans.

He loved his internship with the men who were his mentors at the DOT in Greenfield and his job at Touchstone Farm. When we looked forward to his future, I know more than anything, Brandon wanted to be a Marine. I was very fond of Brandon and I will miss him.

Mary Lou O’Neil is ConVal’s School to Work/Internship coordinator

I can say that we looked forward to Brandon’s arrival every day he was an intern with us. He set the bar very high. He learned quickly and was very personable. We would have been happy to have him work here. He came back to visit us before he deployed and when he was on leave. I’ve never known a 19-year-old who already had his life planned out to retirement! I told him, “Brandon, don’t forget to have some fun!” We are all sad about losing him, but I’m glad he was doing what he wanted to be doing.

John Leonard was Brandon’s internship site supervisor senior year with the N.H. Department of Transportation in Greenfield.

Brandon was one of those students who you could depend on to make the right moral choices and push through the toughest of problems. I remember Brandon creating this design concept for his team’s cement boat. He chose to use pvc pipe, and cement around it for increased buoyancy. The boat floated like a partially submerged submarine. Brandon was so upset. What he didn’t realize was the design was quite brilliant, it met the criteria. See, it did float and was able to be pulled across the pond.

Karen Fabianski works in the Pre-engineering Program Region 14 Applied Technology Center.

Brandon always wanted to serve and was eager to get started. From the time I first met him as a freshman, he discussed his interests in becoming a firefighter, a police officer or joining the military. He was eager to give back and serve his community and country. He worked hard with his academics, but it was hands-on and real-life activities which he enjoyed most and excelled best. As his school counselor, I had the pleasure of having many discussions with Brandon as he struggled with his decision to finish up his course work early so that he could begin his military service. His ties to ConVal and the community, through football, hockey and his work with the Temple Fire Department, Peterborough Police Explorers and his friends and family, made it a difficult decision, but in the end his pull to serve won out as he headed off for boot camp, while his peers were enjoying their final semester in high school. Brandon was an old soul; kind, respectful and always willing to help and to serve. While it was way too soon, he gave his life fulfilling his dream of service. His loss will be deeply felt for many years to come by his family, friends, community and country.

Shawn King is a ConVal High School counselor.

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