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By: Jess D'Agastino:
The world is suffering an unprecedented bout of sadness, fear, and uncertainty right now. However, I am a firm believer, along with literally hundreds of Holmdel residents, that it is especially in times of hardship that celebrations of the good in the world mean that much more.
On Saturday, April 18th, over twenty five cars of people lined up outside the Prestigiacomo home. Mario Prestigiacomo – husband to Angela and father to Anthony, Ava, and Sophia – was finally given a fully clean bill of health after fighting and beating a battle with cancer. It was in the “Super Mario” balloons and signs, the loud and proud honking, the tears, smiles, laughter, and socially-distanced camaraderie that we celebrated Mario Prestigiacomo. (article continues below the video)
WATCH MORE OF THE DRIVE-THRU CELEBRATION:
Anyone that has the absolute honor of knowing Mario knows of his infectious laughter and the warmth he radiates to anyone he meets. He is genuine, kind-hearted, family-oriented, and is ready with a homemade brick-oven pizza in one hand and a firm handshake in the other to make anyone feel welcome. However, you don’t need just my account to attest to everything Mario is. Just look at the pictures, the videos, the turnout of this rainy day parade of cars.
Each car got the opportunity to drive through the circular driveway and give their congratulations and share their love with the entire Prestigiacomo family (from a safe distance of course). I can say with complete honesty that this was the absolute best moment of my and my family’s quarantine thus far. We all collectively have been uprooted from our schools, our work, and our lives. We’ve been force fed bad news and perpetually lived under this unwavering storm cloud. But Saturday, April 18th was pure sunshine in our celebration of this fantastic family. We refocused our efforts and attention on this beautiful news; news of health, prosperity, love, family, and hope.
I am so lucky to have spent many wonderful minutes with the Prestigiacomo family and cannot thank them enough for everything they have given me in my life (including my best friend since kindergarten, Anthony). I am certain that each and every person that participated in the parade would also speak to the contribution the Prestigiacomo family has made in so many lives far beyond even the hundred or so that partook. It is celebrations like this parade that remind us that as we face this pandemic, we are still human beings with lives that should be cherished and loved and praised. We are still capable of celebrating a man and a family who deserve the world. For now, we improvised with loud honks and screamed “I love you’s,” but we’ll hold on to future hugs and bottles of Champagne in the not so distant future.
Thank you to the amazing people who organized this event, especially Mrs. Gerri De Cicco and her family. April 18th brought us back into humanity and was the reminder we all need that life is STILL WORTH CELEBRATING. To Mario and his supportive, loving, electric, amazing family, we love you, we are so proud of you, and we thank you for the opportunity to celebrate something and someone. You truly are Super Mario.
Jess D'Agostino is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan and a 2019 Holmdel alumna. She writes for the opinion column of The Michigan Daily, is an Associate Producer and active reporter for WOLV-tv’s Newsfeed, and an executive board member on the Ann Arbor chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.