Andrew Desiderio, a 21-year-old student at Binghamton University who grew up in Williston Park, died in a hiking accident on April 12.

He planned to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in economics.

Details on the hiking accident, including where it occurred, were not disclosed in a message posted by the university.

Desiderio was also a volunteer firefighter, joining the Mineola Fire Department’s junior program in 2013 before becoming a full member and earning the title of junior lieutenant in 2016. His unit, Truck 2, paid tribute to Desiderio in an Instagram post last Wednesday.

“Around the firehouse Andrew would pitch in wherever needed,” the post stated. “During the summer you could find him at the beach either fishing or boating, he tried to go mountain biking whenever the weather allowed, and he loved to go hiking. Although he has left us all too soon we remember that Andrew was doing what he loved.”

The Desiderio family has set up a scholarship fund in conjunction with Mineola High School to remember the young firefighter. His mother, Mary Desiderio, created a GoFundMe page for the scholarship fund on April 12, encouraging family and friends to contribute toward the $10,000 goal “in lieu of food or flowers.” As of Tuesday, the page had raised $85,770, exceeding the original goal by $75,770. 

Nine hundred and one donors contributed to the Andrew Desiderio Memorial Scholarship Fund, with many leaving heartfelt comments on the page. One was fellow Binghamton student Christopher Farrell, who said he would cherish Desiderio’s “crazy inventions” and “funny stories.” 

“Andrew was one of the greatest people I will ever get the pleasure of knowing. Over the last 3 years we were suitemates at Binghamton. Every day when I would come home from class Andrew would always manage to put a smile on my face no matter how I was feeling,” Farrell wrote. “I will miss him and I will always keep Andrew in my heart.”

Born Aug. 29, 1999, in Williston Park, Desiderio became interested in engineering from an early age. On the GoFundMe page for the scholarship fund, Mary Desiderio wrote that her son was able to foster that interest while attending Mineola High School, from which he graduated in 2017.

“Even as a young boy, Andrew loved to create and build things. His mind was always working on plans and ideas. He learned woodworking and welding as a student at Mineola High School,” she wrote.

During his time at Binghamton University, Desiderio served as an assistant technician for the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and was a member of the Binghamton Motorsports team for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Formula Competitions. This year, he served as the team’s chief engineer.

He was a dedicated member of the Boy Scouts of America as well. Desiderio held the position of senior patrol leader in Mineola’s Troop 45 from 2016 to 2017, and he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 2016.

“He had a gift to lead other boys,” Boy Scout leader Steve Grosskopf told News 12. “He was kind.”

Desiderio is survived by his parents, Michael and Mary, and his two younger brothers, Justin and James.

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