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...that I relay to you all the passing of one of our own, 29 year old Paul Duarte, of New Milford, CT. Paul passed away Sunday morning, February 6th following a snowmobile accident in Island Pond, Vermont.

I had only known him for about 8 years and during that time he became one of the closest friends I have ever had. He got his start rallying back in 2002 at Cherokee Trails. After sitting through the rookie seminar he asked Kendall Russell if he could get his license on the spot after finishing the weekend and, smiling, she told him to not worry about the license and just concentrate on finishing. Paul figured that would be "No problem kid!" Nothing was ever a problem for him. He proceded to take his '85 Corolla (Which he busted his tail to build from the ground up.)and drive himself and his navvie to a second and first place trophy in G2 for the Club events. No happier person could be seen at the awards ceremony. Thus began a rookie season that saw him score a 3rd place finish in the NEDIV G2 championship and an invite to the CRNC event the following February.

I had the pleasure of sitting with Paul at this event and while there were times he would have liked to go faster than the Corolla would allow, he drove a calculated event that led to a 3rd place finish in G2 for the CRNC. Since then I've enjoyed a few more codriving stints with him and never came away without having a hell of a fun weekend.
On behalf of Paul's wife and his family I wish to say thank you to the members of the rally community that have expressed their sympathies. He enjoyed hanging out with and competing against all of you. And to those who did not know him, I can only say that I'm sorry you did not get to meet my friend.

Respectfully,
Brian Johnson
 

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This has been a tough loss for both Brian and myself. For those who had the pleasure of being around Paul, we are all beter people for it. Being there for his victories as well as his defeats, he always put a great spin on it and cracked a joke. He was a great driver and an even better friend. It is with a heavy heart that we morn his passing....
 

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My condolences to the Connecticut boys and the Duarte family. Paul was a very nice guy and a very good driver.

Regards,
Brandon
 
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