RARITAN TWP., N.J. – The death of a 20-year-old township boy has led his family to ask “those who need help, please reach out to those who love you.

“To all those who struggle, know your pain is not isolated and there are others who understand, and want to help. The hardest step is to put out a hand,” reads the obituary of Christopher Evan Soldano.

Soldano died July 28 “in a field where he spent many nights watching the stars and appreciating mother nature, while searching for meaning in his own life.”

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The full obituary, which is on the Wright & Ford Family Funeral Home website, portrays a sensitive young man known for his poetry, “loving and caring personality, as well as his wit and acting abilities.

“Holding the lead in his senior play gave him great enjoyment as the smiling faces of family and friends are what helped fuel his passion and zest for life,” it says.

Although the obituary says Soldano chose to end his life, “he would not want that to be the lesson taken from his short, but impactful life on this Earth,” the family says. “He would want anyone reading this to take a sense of ‘Hope’ and to live each day to its fullest.

Indeed, hope is never more than a phone call away. The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255, and hope is available year ‘round, around the clock.

New Jersey offers New Jersey Hopeline, a peer support and suicide prevention hotline at 1-855-654-6735. “When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute — then call us,” the website asks.

Soldano graduated last year from Hunterdon Central High School.

He worked for more than a year at the Flemington Wawa, “earning a reputation for being a ‘go-to’ guy on many topics, most of all when someone just needed a laugh or to be cheered up,” according to his obituary. “His ‘Jack Sparrow’ and ‘Christopher Walkin’ impersonations usually did just the trick in those situations.”

He was born in Annapolis, Md., Dec. 29, 1997, the son of Jacquelynn Bobbi-Jo Soldano of Jacksonville, N.C. and Christopher Michael Soldano of Raritan Township. He moved to Jacksonville, N.C. at the age of one and lived there until the age of 12. He then moved to Muskegon, Mi. before moving here in 2014.

Surviving, in addition to his parents, is a sister, Falynn Nancy Soldano; his step-mother, Mary Louise Soldano; his step-sister and her fiancé, Rachael Hill and Anthony Miller; his step-brother, Jake Hill; his maternal grandparents, Nancy Young and Joseph and his wife, Suzanne Smith; his paternal grandparents, Terry Pelletier and her husband, Tom and Edward Soldano; two uncles, Alex Pelletier and Justin Smith; an aunt, Lisa Soldano; his faithful dog, Max; and many extended family and friends.

The heart-breaking obituary notes that, “From acting to writing poetry, Chris was an extremely deep thinker. This level of thinking often times frustrated him, as though he helped so many others over the years, it was often times difficult for him to find his own self-worth.”

In his obituary, the family asks:

“Those saddened and feeling robbed by Chris’s sudden death are asked to try and continue the legacy that is most certainly emblazed on the hearts of so many, as articulated in a post from September 8, 2017 in which he wrote, “Sometimes doing for others is not something that will yield a reward, or appreciation. Sometimes people won’t even know what you did for them. But it shouldn’t bother you when this happens. For doing the right thing, should only ever be done because it is the right thing. Not to be thanked, rewarded, popular, or cool. But to make the world a better place to be in, little by little. Helping means putting yourself before others, but if you help for the sake of a reward, you’re putting yourself first. Have compassion, have love. You never know how much someone needs it.”

A Celebration of Chris’s life will take place on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018 at 4 p.m. in Wright & Ford Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 38 Rt. 31 here.