A junior sailor died late last month after he was struck by a vehicle near Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy.

The precise circumstances of Hospitalman Arturo Rivera’s death on July 26 remain under investigation, but Navy officials said he was struck while crossing a road in the nearby city of Catania.

The 22-year-old native of Long Beach, California, enlisted in October 2018 and had been assigned to U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella since November, officials said.

Rivera’s family could not be reached for comment.

Italian law enforcement and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are investigating the sailor’s death.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Catania Municipal Police or NCIS by calling +39-335-848-4145 or by leaving an anonymous tip at NCIS.Navy.mil.

At a memorial service for Rivera held at Sigonella, Lt. William Spence, a pharmacist at the hospital, recalled the positive impact Rivera made on their lives.

“I have never met another individual who is always smiling, always happy, always laughing,” Spence said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted to the command’s Facebook page.

“He could weather me on my grouchiest day and come back for more,” Spence recalled. “I could accurately gauge my level of grouchiness by whether or not a shot of espresso would magically appear on my desk.”

Rivera volunteered at least 50 hours a week in the local community and was adored by patients, the lieutenant said.

“He could handle even the most challenging patient with a smile on his face and kindness in his heart,” Spence said. “He was the heart and soul of this pharmacy.”

“I want everyone to know how honored I am for the chance to have had this individual in my life,” he continued. “I am so incredibly thankful for the time I had with him and I will be forever changed by his impact on my life.”

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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