SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Glowsticks on a college campus are usually seen in celebration, but on Thursday they were a sign of grief on the San Diego State University rugby field as teammates rallied to mourn the loss of Maxwell Tamulonis.
“He had a big heart, and I think that’s what the team will miss most. Beyond his humor and his smile, he was just a caring person,” said Andrew Mosqueda, teammate and roommate of Tamulonis.
“Just his work ethic. His work ethic and his heart. What he could, what he wanted to do, what he wanted to accomplish; he did it all with a smile on his face,” said the Tamulonis rugby coach Jason Merrill.
Tamulonis’ obituary said he and his girlfriend were hiking at Black’s Beach on February 7 when he fell. The obituary says Tamulonis was airlifted to hospital where he died a few hours later.
Tamulonis’ teammate says the big-hearted 21-year-old isn’t done helping others.
“Their next step was to donate his organs, which we all knew was what he would have wanted,” Mosqueda said. “And his donations have already helped five people ranging in age from 14 to 47, 48.”
Tamulonis may be gone and the team may never be the same again.
“His, you know, love for everything he’s done and being able to come and share that tonight celebrating it. You know him as a person,” Merrill said.
But there is still a part of the young man with the big heart and the smile that will never be forgotten.
“He lives in all of us. But it’s good to know that he also lives among other people and helps people he had no connection to before.”
Tamulonis’ teammate told ABC 10News that the team has appreciated all the support from the rugby community and SDSU.
Merrill said Tamulonis’ parents were working with the rugby team to create a scholarship in his name. Instructions on how to donate were included in Tamulonis’ obituary.