The article was written by DeMatha Stagline writer Andrew DeSantis
If you make the most of what you are doing, there is no way to regret what you are doing. These are wise words for all DeMatha students to emulate, from someone wise beyond their years: the DeMatha ‘99 graduate Brendan Looney was killed on September 21, 2010 while serving Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He was only 29.
Looney carried on a longstanding tradition by attending DeMatha Catholic High School–his father and eight uncles had gone there before him. After he graduated, Looney went on to attend the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, Rhode Island. He was color blind, but he was admitted to Annapolis–one of eight color blind applicants. As a sophomore, Looney tried out for lacrosse (without ever having played before) and ended up making the Navy’s team. He was joined later by his brothers, both of whom went through DeMatha. They lost the 2004 NCAA National Championship to Syracuse. But the very fact that they had made it that far was a testament to the commitment and hard work they had put in.
It was at the Navy where Brendan Looney met his roommate and his best friend, Travis Manion, who had gone to high school at La Salle in Pennsylvania. In high school Manion had wrestled. The two of them became very close, as close as brothers. Looney would go on to get married and become a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan, Manion a marine in Iraq.
Travis Manion died in Iraq on April 29, 2007 and was buried in Pennsylvania. When Brendan Looney was killed, the body of Manion was moved to Arlington National Cemetery, so that the two could be buried-side-by-side.
In August 2014, the Convocation Center at DeMatha was renamed the Brendan Looney Convocation Center. A memorial wall was placed in the front lobby, which remembers the other DeMatha alumni who have also gone on to serve–six of whom also died fighting for America.
“Brendan Looney epitomized someone who worked hard and gave everything he had to his country,” said Mr. Tom Ponton. “That’s why the Convocation Center was dedicated in his honor. He was just an all-around good person.”
At DeMatha in 1998, Looney was the starting shortstop on the baseball team. That same year he was named MVP of the football team–his number was 10. Brendan Brisolari, Class of 2015, was named the “Honor Man” of DeMatha’s varsity football team last year; he wore the #10 jersey, in honor of Looney, as DeMatha played Travis Manion’s high school alma mater, La Salle. Anthony Toro, a sophomore who plays football and lacrosse, will be wearing Looney’s respective number this year.
The Pennsylvanian high school emerged victorious at a painfully close score of 41-39. On Friday, September 18, DeMatha’s varsity football team faced La Salle again. This time, it was DeMatha’s turn.
The spirit of Brendan Looney—the way he always wholeheartedly devoted himself to his country, and to the teams he played on at both DeMatha and Navy—shined through the players, especially in the second quarter. While behind at halftime with only 3 points, DeMatha would end up taking home the win 32-12. The healthy competition between the two high schools was made only more poignant in the knowledge that the game was played in honor of the two men, the two brothers, who gave their lives for the country.
As more people come to know his story, the words on the side of the Convocation Center will be more than just words; they will reiterate, every time someone walks by them, that a man, and many more, paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Perhaps DeMatha students can learn a thing or two from Brendan. He doesn’t have to be remembered by DeMatha students just at the occasional football game. As long as DeMatha students “make the most of what they are doing,” be it providing service to others in the community or striving to do their best inside the classroom, Brendan Looney will never be forgotten.
The DeMatha Stagline is the official student newspaper of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland
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