Even as he was being deployed to Iraq, newlywed Matthew Pollini dreamed of building a life together with his wife, Sarah.
Matthew Pollini, 21, wanted to buy a home. He wanted to send his wife to nursing school, and he wanted to become a state trooper or firefighter once he returned from Iraq in October, Sarah said.
“We had lots of plans,” Sarah Pollini, 20, said. They were married in a simple ceremony at his family’s home on Dec. 22. He shipped out four days later.
Less than a month into his tour of duty, Pollini was killed Thursday when the Jeep he was riding in rolled over, said Rockland Veterans Service Agent Anton Materna.
His family said Pollini joined the 772nd Military Police Company, an Army National Guard Unit from Taunton, two or three years ago. He was stationed at the al Kut forward operating base, on the Tigris River about 30 miles southeast of Baghdad.
Standing outside the family’s Rockland home Friday, Sarah Pollini wept as Matthew’s brother, sisters and friends gathered around her. Family members could be heard sobbing inside the house.
Erica Pollini said her brother, one of six children aged 4 to 24, had always been self-sufficient. He collected cans when he was 7 to earn extra money. “He worked for what he wanted,” she said.
His wife said she met Pollini outside the Rockland Teen Center in 2006, and they had been together ever since.
“He’s not like any other guy in the world,” she said.
“He could make anything fun,” Ralph Menchi, 23, Pollini’s best friend, said.
Pollini attended Rockland High School and later earned his GED, his family said.
High School Assistant Principal Sue Patton said he was “a great kid.”
Pollini is the second serviceman from Rockland to die in Iraq. Marine Lance Cpl. Walter “Gator” O’Haire, 20, was killed by a roadside bomb in April 2007.
O’Haire’s mother, Maureen, said Friday night she was heading to the Pollini’s home to offer her condolences and bring food. O’Haire said the pain doesn’t get any easier, and she still fights the urge to call her son.
Depending on the family’s wishes, a ceremony similar to the one given for O’Haire would be held for Pollini, Selectman Deborah O’Brien said. A motorcade, starting from South Boston where O’Haire first lived, traveled to Holy Family Church where his funeral was held.
Before he left for Iraq, Pollini built his wife a wooden dollhouse. Sarah was supposed to paint and decorate it while he was gone.
Sarah Pollini said she still plans to decorate the dollhouse.
“I’m going to live our plans,” she said.
Allison Manning may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.