Posted by Jennifer Petre on May 24, 2013
I have been asked if Ben was my husband, brother, boyfriend, or my son. I guess it is because of the awesome *Photoshop* I did of the picture of him and I on our webpage! Ben “Doc Stiggy” Castiglione was my nephew, my husbands nephew actually. But he was so much more than that to me ….
I met Ben he was 14years old. Being new to a big family and trying to *fit in*, Ben made it easy for me. He spent a lot of time at our house visiting, many nights and weekends full of laughter, movies, games and fun. Ben and my son Spencer shared the same Birthdate, they were very similar, and more like brothers than cousins. Ben broke his hand the same week Spencer did, both in casts together. Ben becoming a Corpsman, Spencer a Paramedic. Caring young men always helping others …..
If I had to sum up the character of Ben it would be Caring, loving and funny. Ben loved people, he was wonderful with kids and small children spending many family get togethers playing and teasing them. Bens sense of humor is something that grew as he did. Being funny and making people laugh came naturally to him. His natural charisma attracted people. Ben cared about animals, always helping one if it was hurt. If there was a dog around, you could find Ben by it, rubbing it’s ears. It was a family joke about how much Ben loved dog ears!!
In 2008-2009 my husband and I moved to Atalanta Georgia for his job. The move was very tough for me, and Ben understood that. There were times when he was deployed that he would call just me, not Joe and ask for me, but just me. Here he was, in war zone and he would call and ask how I was, how I was?????? Are you kidding me? Because we lived closer to where he was stationed (Camp Lejeune) Ben made several trips on his weekends off to stay with us. This is when we became even closer. I am forever grateful for that time we had. The many talks about everything, Military, his men and how he asked to be deployed to Afghanistan to take care of them. I will never forget that conversation. “I don’t care if I die Aunt Jen, I just need all my Marines to make it home alive.” … chills run through me even know as I look back on that.
I believed, at that time, that I was Ben’s favorite Aunt. In fact, it wasn’t until after is death that I realized everyone was Ben’s favorite.The young man had a unique way of making everyone feel so special that we all thought we were his favorite. I cant tell you how many times we hear that “Ben was my best friend”! This man had more best friends than anyone I know!!
Ben, to me you are a inspiration. I try to live in honor of who your were daily. The loss of your life will always be a grief I struggle with. I love you and miss you daily. I know you are probably a little upset that I made this big hoopla over you, but I am finishing what you started…..taking care of your Men (and woman).
Please take the time to honor this man, who lost his life at 21. Never had a Drivers Licenses, never married. Gone to soon. Never forgotten. Ben ‘Doc Stiggy’ Castiglione.