It was a sunny afternoon and Jason Vasiento was about seven-years-old, helping his father, Joe Vasiento, put the finishing touches on a retainer wall in the backyard of their Herndon home near Chandon Park. It was a job that the two had worked on together in the summer of 1985, a father teaching his young son the basics of building. When they had finished, the two sat down together to take in the completed project when Jason Vasiento looked to his father and said something that would stay with the man for the rest of his life.
"I remember sitting with him, and he looks up at me and he says, ‘Dad, someday, we’d be doing this kind of thing with my kids,’" said Joe Vasiento. "We really did a lot of things together when he was younger like that."
Jason Vasiento, who grew up to be a local veterinarian technician and father of a 15-month-old son, was killed on the Dulles Toll Road when his car slammed into a semi-truck on the evening of Saturday, March 23. He was 29.
Jason Vasiento was likely not using his seat belt while traveling over the posted speed limit between 80 and 90 m.p.j. at approximately 11:30 p.m., when the accident occurred, according to Virginia State Trooper Frederick Richens. Whether alcohol was a factor has not yet been determined, he added. He was transported by air to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 12:30 a.m. the next morning.
While the driver of the truck that Jason Vasiento struck was not injured, two individuals who had been struck by Jason Vasiento during the course of the collision were treated for minor injuries and released from Reston Hospital, Richens said.
A memorial was held for Jason Vasiento at the Adams Green Funeral Home on Thursday, March 29. His cremated remains will be retained by his parents, Anna and Joe Vasiento, both Herndon residents.
TO HIS FRIENDS, Jason Vasiento was a loyal and compassionate companion, willing to give them anything at the first sign of need. To his family, he was a devoted and attentive father, a cheerful and upbeat brother and a thoughtful and kind son.
"I think the thing I’m proudest most about him is that he enjoyed his life and never let things upset him," said his mother, Anna Vasiento. "He always used to say, ‘mom, things will all work out in the end.’"
"He was one of those people that lived life to the fullest, he enjoyed life every day."
Born at Loudoun Hospital in 1977, Jason Vasiento spent his entire life living in Herndon. The son of Anna and Joe Vasiento, who had moved from their home in Queens, N.Y. in the mid-1970s for Joe Vasiento’s job as a baggage handler at Dulles Airport, he grew up as a local boy scout, and later played baseball for Herndon High School.
"Anything he decided to take on, he did well, he was very much a perfectionist," said Anna Vasiento. "He always wanted to be the best person he could possibly be."
IN 2000, he took his desire to better himself to the United States Army, where he served as an infantry soldier, doing his basic training in Fort Benning, Ga. He would later be stationed in Kansas.
When he returned from the army in 2003, he started work in what was ultimately the greatest passion among many in his life: animals.
"When he was younger, he would bring any animal home that he could find, and he wanted to keep it and take care of it," said Anna Vasiento.
As a result, he began his work as a veterinarian technician at Reston Animal Hospital and later at South Paws Animal Hospital, where he was planning on going back to school to learn to become a veterinarian surgeon.
But Jason Vasiento’s passions didn’t end with his love for animals, according to Jess Curkendall of Sterling, his girlfriend of three years and the mother of his 15-month-old son, Jason Vasiento, Jr.
"He just had a great passion for so many things in his life," she said. "He was one of those people that did everything in his life with great passion and enthusiasm."
Some of Jason Vasiento’s other hobbies included cooking, hiking, drawing designs for tattoos and watching his favorite television show, The Simpsons.
"I DON’T HAVE any brothers or sisters, but he fulfilled that rolled for me," said Matt Kelch, of Herndon, who has been friends with Jason Vasiento for 12 years and is the godfather to his child. "He just affected so many people in the short time that he lived."
Just a couple weeks prior to his death, Jason Vasiento heard that his friend Jordan Sawtell, a Herndon computer network technician, had a terrible toothache, so he grabbed his son, stopped by the pharmacy and delivered the medicine to his friend, staying there with him until Sawtell felt better.
For Sawtell, it’s hard to picture another friend quite like Jason Vasiento.
"JV [Jason Vasiento] has a huge heart, he would have done anything for anybody," he said. "He was always there, always taking care of his friends … he was always going, always entertaining."
Jason Vasiento’s originality and compassion will be remembered most by his family, his girlfriend, and will hopefully be imparted to his son, whose very first word was "da-da," they said.
"He always put the needs of other people in front of himself," said Anna Vasiento. "The one thing we can always say about Jason is that he marched to his own drummer."
And while sometimes that meant that he and his father would "butt heads," Joe Vasiento said that it never changed his high opinion of his son’s abilities and the way he lived his life.
"All of the stuff that I used to be at him for, some of the stupid things, I can just say now," said Joe Vasiento, "that I knew him well enough to know that he could really do anything that he wanted when he put his mind to it."