The campus community was notified on Tuesday, Nov. 9 of the death of beloved Harvest Table employee, Gamaliel Torres.
In an email sent by the Office of Finance and Administration, the Office’s Vice President William Guerrero stated that Torres had died “following a medical emergency during his shift in Cheney Hall” on Monday, Nov. 8.
Torres had been discovered in the Cheney bathroom, unresponsive, by a student. There is no indication as to how long he had been there before being found.
The student attempted to find his pulse and ran for help; Public Safety and paramedics promptly arrived, and began CPR along with other lifesaving techniques. Torres was then transported to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
This tragic loss came just days after Torres had rejoined the College community, on Friday, Nov. 5, as Supervisor of Cheney Hall. Torres worked in Cheney from September 2017 until August 2019 with Aramark before returning for Harvest Table this month.
Torres leaves behind his wife and two young children. The couple had just gotten married this past fall, according to his social media, and were living in Windsor, Conn.
“My heart goes out to his family; I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now, especially myself being a mother of young children around the same age as them, and how difficult that must be for them,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Slandie Dieujuste.
“I hope to work with others to see what we can do for them as a community. I know our students, they step up all the time to help, so I’m hoping to work with some student leaders and employees and come together as a community to support,” she continued.
Torres is remembered by his Harvest Table coworkers for his energy and positive attitude, especially by those who had worked with him since 2017.
Harvest Table Guest Experience Manager Emily Sweetman said, “One of our employees worked with Gabby [Gamaliel] back in 2017 and had many fond memories of their friendship… from attending his wedding, to watching Patriots games every Sunday, and meeting him for lunch every day at Moe’s when Gabby was a manager there. They would spend their lunch hours talking about all the good times they had working together at Aramark.
“This employee was the one who encouraged Gabby to apply to work for Harvest Table, and told him how much he knew he would love being back here. [The employee’s] most fond [memory] would have to be Gabby telling him how excited he was to be back at Springfield, and how thankful he was for getting this opportunity. He truly loved his job and was so excited to be back at Springfield College, a place he once called home.”
Director of Spiritual Life David McMahon said he was able to get a strong sense of who Torres was through his conversations with Torres’ coworkers.
“He was very full of energy and very full of life, and that was one of the pieces that came across very strongly with my conversations with the folks at Harvest Table, those who were still around and had worked with him before he came back…,” said McMahon. “It’s a tough loss, because he brought a positive energy to his job and the people around him.”
Students at the College have always enjoyed a close relationship with the Union food service and Cheney workers, forming bonds through conversations over pasta and chicken tenders. The loss of Torres will be felt by students and especially the senior class, which spent the most time with him in his career at the school.
“I want the families of all our Harvest Table workers to know, if they don’t already, just how much they mean to our students,” said Dean of Students Sue Nowlan.
“The relationships — students know them by name, they know our students by name, they remember how they like their omelette — what they do here is so much more than just their job.
“They impact our students’ lives. They are a part of our community, they mean a lot to our students. They’re a part of life at the campus.”