WEST ISLIP, N.Y. (PIX11) – One was a student at the local high school here, and the other was in his early twenties, just starting his adult life.
Kyle Dilegame, 16, and Matthew Kreamer were brothers from a well-liked local family. Both young men lost their lives over the weekend in a fire that fully engulfed their home and left their parents with an emotional challenge that’s even greater than the physical one they faced,
On Monday, there were grief counselors on hand at West Islip High School, where there were also tributes to Dilegame. The school had declared Monday a Day of Unity in celebration of the life of the football player and video gamer, as well as an effort to help the student body to mourn.
The entrance drive to campus was lined with all things blue and gold, the school colors. There were balloons and ribbons attached to the playing field fences, as well as a memorial flower arrangement next to the school’s digital display sign at the main entrance.
Daniel Kossman was a friend of the fallen senior class member.
“We all wore blue and gold,” he said, describing how people at the school paid tribute to Dilegame, “and there was a memorial in his football locker, with flowers and post-it notes written to him, showing all the love and support we had for him,” Kossman said.
“It’s just a terrible thing to happen to him,” he added.
Dilegame and his brother, Matthew Kreamer, perished inside their home at 136 Udell Road when the fire broke out in the structure before 6:00 a.m. on Saturday.
The brothers’ mother, Toni Kreamer, and their father, Joseph Dilegami, survived the emergency but with significant injuries. Both parents are expected to survive.
At the home on Monday afternoon, the support from the community was also evident.
The entire front of their lot was lined with bouquets, candles, signs, stuffed animals, and other keepsakes in tribute to the two siblings.
At the home, a cousin of Toni Kreamer, who asked not to be identified, said that the parents’ recovery will be difficult, both emotionally and physically.
Tammy Johnson, a close friend of Matthew Kreamer, said in a phone interview that all of the support shows how significant the brothers were to the community, as well as to her.
“It’s so tragic to have lost him at such a young age because he was just so good,” Johnson said. “He was just one of those people you just want on your side. You want to be in his good graces because he was just so beautiful.”