GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) – Three months ago Air National Guardsman Bill Sager was pushed down a flight of stairs at a Buffalo bar.
His friends and family prayed for him to recover, but Sager lost his fight Thursday.
A benefit held Sunday was organized before Sager’s death, but his friends are pushing forward in his honor.
Bill Sager is being remembered as the ultimate friend. ”He was the truest, most genuine person that I’ve ever met,” said David Castiglia who worked with Sager in the 107th Air National Guard.
“Just his very laid back demeanor and his jokes. He always had the room laughing and just very energetic and it just spread to everybody who was in the room with him,” said coworker Nicole Martin.
The Air National Guard veteran died on Thursday. The benefit was planned while Sager was in coma, in hopes he would still be able to recover from head injuries suffered when he was pushed down the stairs at Molly’s Bar in Buffalo.
“Nothing changes with what our mission is, but the mood is more somber. We’re here to celebrate his life and honor him the best we can,” said his friend Anthony Re.
Some of his fellow air guardsman made a pact a while ago. should anything happen to anyone of them they’d take care of each others families. “It’s one of those unspoken promises, but when I did go visit him in the hospital I would speak that to him. I would say you don’t have to worry about anything we’re going to help take care of everything. You just focus on getting better. We’re going to make good on that promise and do the best we can” said Re.
They made the pact thinking if one of them died, it would happen while at war. Although these circumstances are different his friends didn’t hesitate to help. “It’s hard when a veteran passes in battle. It’s even worse when they are out for a social evening and something tragic like this happens,” said VFW District Commander Daniel McMahon.
This summer should have been one of the best for Sager, he was engaged to be married in July. Now his family is left planning a funeral. “It’s few and far between these days where you genuinely good people and he was one of them and its’ tragic that he was taken from us,” said Re.
Organizers say around 700 people attended the benefit. There’s another benefit coming up on September 13 at the VFW Post in Sager’s hometown of Silvercreek. Donations can also be made on a website created for Bill at http://www.benefitbillsager.com/