You’re a good man, Dan Parmenter

By Christopher Chung

On Valentine’s Day 2008, the country was put into a state of terror and grief by the shootings that occurred at Northern Illinois University. The gunman, identified as former NIU student Steven Kazmierczak, burst into Cole Hall and fired at will, killing five people and injuring 16 before turning the gun on himself and ending his own life. One of the students killed was Daniel Parmenter, whom I knew from my days at York Community High School in Elmhurst, Ill. Although I did not know him extremely well, I was lucky enough to hang out with him a few times during the summer of 2007, and knew him well enough to know what a great guy he was.

As a big guy in stature at 6’5″ and 250 pounds, a lineman for York football team and a former rugby player for Northern Illinois, Dan was the perfect example of a friendly giant.

Throughout my time with him in calculus class in high school and during this past summer, I never saw an ounce of hostility in him. He never exuded anything but kindness when I was around him, and was always very understanding and courteous when he spoke.

As a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, he was very highly regarded by his brothers. “He was always helping other people out, giving you a ride to class, helping with homework, doing community service,” said Jason Garcia, fraternity president, on Dan’s achievements. His outstanding work ethic carried over into many other aspects of his life, from his positions as office manager and advertising representative for NIU’s student newspaper, The Northern Star, to his studies as a finance major. Amongst his other accolades, Dan was also very musically talented.

As a sophomore in high school I remember him playing lead guitar in a band with some of my other classmates. They even got to the point where they were recording music and playing live shows. Whether it was a house band concert, a Friday night football game, a philanthropic event for his fraternity, his many responsibilities at the Northern Star, or anything else that needed to be done, Dan was always someone who could be counted on to get the job done with flying colors.

Dan had a great sense of appreciating others. When he signed my yearbook during the final days of our senior year, he wrote about how great he thought our teacher was.

While everyone (including Dan) was writing their goodbyes and good lucks, he took the time to reflect on the role that our teacher played in his senior year and additionally comment on how he appreciated this. It was obvious to me that he had a genuine appreciation for those around him, whether it was a fellow classmate or a teacher.

Dan always had a great number of friends in high school, all of whom can attest to his endearing qualities of kindness, open-mindedness and overall just being a great person to be around. He will be greatly missed by everyone, and any community in which he was a member should feel blessed to have had him in their lives.