(October 9, 2006) -- An unimaginable tragedy has befallen an ELB family whose lives have touched residents of LB and beyond.
On October 4, Elisa Gigliotti, a 30+ year LB resident and a Professor of Italian and Spanish at LBCC, sustained severe burns over most of her body when (LBPD says) a high performance motorcycle traveling westbound on Carson St. at a high rate of speed slammed into her small, four door compact as it turned north onto Faculty Ave. from eastbound Carson St.
Ms. Gigliotti's small car caught fire...and she was trapped inside.
Police officers and citizens, first on scene, braved flames to rescue her.
The LBCC campus newspaper's online edition, www.lbccvikingnews.com conveyed the difficult story in compelling words and photos.
Elisa was rushed to a hospital in critical condition. The male motorcycle driver who hit her car was pronounced dead at the scene.
Elisa Gigliotti is the wife of Lorenzo Gigliotti, a pioneering LB internet expert and webmaster who helped create LB's downtown internet wi-fi "hot zones" (some of the first in western America) and at LB Airport. He launched his own community news/events website (www.LongBeachOnline.Net) and created www.LongBeachCares.org to raise local awareness for victims of Hurricane Katrina in Long Beach, Mississippi, listing Long Beach, CA events to help relief efforts.
We first encountered Mr. Gigliotti when he sent us a congratulatory email shortly after we launched LBReport.com. Others thought we were nuts at the time, but Lorenzo offered us supportive and gracious expert advice.
Lorenzo has posted a touching message about Elisa on his company's web site, saying in part "You know that she's always had boundless energy, but now she needs our prayers, our energy and most of all, she needs our love. "Thank you" to all of you who have had us in your thoughts and prayers -- We can't tell you how much your thoughts, prayers have helped us to get through these first few days." To view the entire message, click the following link: www.g-site.com/lisa.
A long-time friend of the Gigliotti family, Diana Harrelson, attended an October 8 candlelight vigil for Elisa and provided us with the report below:
[begin guest text]
|Over 50 people gathered on Sunday night, Oct. 8 in a show of support for Lisa Gigliotti, bringing flowers and candles, along with hugs, tears and hope, as neighbors, friends, colleagues and family formed a large circle in front of St. Joseph's Church on Willow St. at Palo Verde Ave.|
Photo by Rosanna Moraca.
Illuminated by candlelight, after reciting the Lord's Prayer, a half dozen people told how Lisa had touched their lives. As each one spoke about "their" Lisa, it became obvious that this remarkable woman has made a difference to so many, and a celebration of Lisa began to occur. Heads nodded as she was repeatedly described as optimistic, energetic, sweet, thoughtful, and always caring about and for others.
Lisa's husband, Lorenzo, in attendance with the couple's three children and extended family, gave the crowd an update on his wife's condition, thanked the supporters, and appealed for everyone's continued prayers and love through what the doctors say will be a long, arduous and very painful journey of healing.
A 30+ year resident of Long Beach, Lisa Gigliotti is a professor of Italian and Spanish at LBCC, Cypress College, and Golden West and has been an active volunteer and always-smiling face in numerous Long Beach organizations.
On Wednesday, October 4th, while driving to pick up her daughter from LBCC, Lisa's small Ford Escort was struck by a speeding motorcycle. The motorcycle's gas tank exploded upon impact causing a fireball that engulfed the car.
Bystanders literally ran through a burning ring of fire to open the driver's door so that she could escape.
Despite being very seriously burned, Lisa miraculously walked from the burning vehicle. Though she is now in ICU in Torrance Burn Center, family and friends hold onto this example of her determination as hope that her strong spirit will help pull her through the many months needed to recover from severe burns.
[end guest text]
We know the Gigliotti family would welcome your supportive thoughts and prayers for Elisa at this time.