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Gay Vet And DADT Activist Darren Manzella Dead At 36

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADarren Manzella, a gay combat medic discharged after publicly coming out in 2007, was killed in a traffic accident on Friday in western New York.

According to the AP:

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said Manzella was driving on Interstate 490 in suburban Rochester about 8:30 p.m. Thursday when his vehicle sideswiped a car. Deputies said he stopped his vehicle, got out and began pushing the car from behind. He was then hit by an SUV, pinning him between the two vehicles. He died at the scene.

Manzella enlisted in the Army in 2002 and was awarded the Combat Medical Badge for his service in Iraq. He came out in a December 2007 appearance on 60 Minutes, becoming the first openly gay service member on active duty to speak to the press from a war zone.

He was discharged in June 2008 for violating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which would be repealed three years later. Free to serve openly, Manzella had recently joined the Army Reserves. “Being in the military and serving was a very important part of his life,” Manzella’s lifelong friend, Anne Colwell Colangelo told the Democrat and Chronicle. “He was very proud to be a soldier.”

Manzella is survived by his family as well as his husband, Javier Lapeira-Soto — the two had just gotten married in July.

On:           Aug 31, 2013
Tagged: , , , ,
    • Dakotahgeo

      This is so sad. May Daniel rest in peace and his husband find comfort and grace to get through this period in life. Daniel was indeed a trailblazer. RIP, Daniel!
      Pastor Dak, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

      Aug 31, 2013 at 8:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cagnazzo82

      So unfair to lose your life like that just one month after getting married.

      People just drive so carelessly it’s ridiculous. How do you hit a stationary car? Why?

      Anyway I hope this guy’s family and his husband find comfort in the fact that this guy’s legacy will live on in the form all the men and women who’ll be serving out and in the open and without fear of institutional repercussions from here on out.

      Aug 31, 2013 at 9:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. E. Jones


      How do you hit a stationary car? Why?

      Rubber necking. I’m a courier and I’ve seen several accidents caused by people looking at other accidents. Most drivers are generally stupid, and give them something shiny to look at, and their IQ and driving skills drop further.

      A brave life ended too early by an act of kindness on his part.

      Aug 31, 2013 at 10:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fawkes

      Cue the nasty little troll BJ McFrisky openly musing about how great it is that a pro-gay-marriage patriot who was not afraid to challenge the government is dead.

      Aug 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dvlaries

      Jesus. We’ve only begun to live at any 36. May he rest in peace and condolensces to his family and husband.
      Instinct makes me fear Westboro is already making hideous plans.

      Aug 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joetx

      @Cagnazzo82: I’ve seen so many people distracted by their smart phones, swerving or drifting into other people’s lanes, running red lights or stop signs, etc. Hang up & drive, people!

      R.I.P., Darren. You did a very courageous thing, coming out when DADT was still the law. And I’m sure you saved many lives as a medic.

      Aug 31, 2013 at 2:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz

      How horrible. His family should be proud of the tremendous things he did with 36 short years. May we all have his courage and integrity, and may we all remember this moment the next time we are driving and our iPhone bings.

      Aug 31, 2013 at 4:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carlton Raines

      My thoughts to his partner and family,Such a sad loss of this brave young man

      Aug 31, 2013 at 4:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BrandoPolo

      There goes my hero. R.I.P. solider.

      Aug 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stranded

      what an awful way to go.

      Sep 1, 2013 at 1:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rcs831

      This just rips my heart out. The family, the poor family I feel so sorry for their loss. They are in my thoughts. I think I’m done with the internet today.

      Sep 1, 2013 at 9:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stache1

      @stranded: I think he would’ve died pretty fast at least with an impact with an SUV at full speed

      Sep 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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