Roommate of fallen Fryeburg officer: 'He died doing what he loves'

Fryeburg officer's roommate opens up about his best friend.

UPDATED 8:30 a.m.: There will be a public service for Officer Desjardins at the Augusta Civic Center on Friday, June 16th, at 10 a.m.

 

TEWKSBURY, Massachusetts (NEWS CENTER) - A 'jack of all trades' and 'the kindest person you will ever meet' - that's how friends remember Fryeburg police officer Nathan Desjardins.

Desjardins died of his injuries 10 days after a boat crash on the Saco River while he was trying to save someone else's life.

He was only 20-years-old, and was a rising senior at the University of New England.

His college roommate spoke with NEWS CENTER about his best friend.

“I would go to the moon for that kid,” said Bryant Bonaiuto, a rising senior at the University of New England in Biddeford. “Close group of friends. I don't need a big group of friends, I just need a couple of good ones. And he was one of them.”

A friend, and roommate - lost too soon.

“One, I know he went fast. Two, he was doing what he loves. And he wouldn't have had it any other way,” said Bonaiuto about Desjardins’s death.

This is how he is able to make peace with the unexpected death of his college roommate.

“It shows a different level of commitment and compassion for a human being, that you can set aside your own selfishness or set aside your own fears,” said Bonaiuto about Desjardins’s bravery. “To have the want to actually help people and to go out and do [these things] that most of the people won't do.”

Bryant and Nate were more than just friends, or roommates, or rising seniors at UNE. They were both on the path to save lives...Bryant as a future Trauma & Intensive Care Nurse, and Nate as an nursing student, a current EMT, and a future police officer.

“He was always active, so that's why he wanted to do police work,” said Bonaiuto. “He was always at the gym, so that's why he wanted to do nursing.” He said Nate traveled home to Fairfield almost every weekend of his freshman year of college to continue his EMT job.

Bryant drove from his hometown in Massachusetts six days after the accident just to see his friend in the hospital in Lewiston. That visit put things in perspective.

“It was a gut wrenching thing,” he said. “You go in and you see him and you're like ‘you're good.’” Bonaiuto said Nate looked like himself other than a cut above his eye. But the damage internally was too much to bear. “But I'm looking at all the monitors, I'm looking at what he has, I'm looking at what they put him on” – Bonaiuto said once he realized the severity of Nate’s injuries, he knew he had to say goodbye.

Nate suffered serious head trauma, and was in a coma.

He died four days after Bryant's visit.

Bryant says this is how Nate will be remembered. “[As a] great person. One of the best. You don't find people that can do all that.”

Bonaiuto says the best way to help the Desjardins family is through prayers and donations. Here is a link to a GoFundMe page to help with medical and funeral expenses.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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