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Hotel death ruled a suicide

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Guam Police Department is closing the books on a death investigation after responding to the Bayview Hotel in Tumon on Wednesday night. While the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide, the community mourns the loss of a successful businessman who devoted his life to helping others. 

"Mike was a gem beyond," noted FSM Consul General Gerson Jackson. "He was actually up front helping us to organize the programs that have helped hundreds of our people already." Mike Ghiglione was the executive director for the Center for Micronesian Empowerment. The 59-year-old was found dead at the parking lot of the Bayview Hotel, with the event coming as a shock to many in the community, including the consul general. 

"He did what more than what he was hired to do. He was actually the jack of all trades, the champion for the taking, starting the office, conducting cultural training assimilation and helping our people when they get off their flights and helping them to learn the basics," Jackson added.

A successful businessman in Tokyo, Ghiglione grew fond of the island - a favorite vacation spot. Several years ago he decided to settle here for semi-retirement life, but after attending a mixer for the Guam Chamber of Commerce, he found himself running the Center for Micronesian Empowerment, quickly becoming a visionary in workforce development in the region and never hesitating to help everybody he could.

Market Research & Development's Jay Merrill shared, "He was full of life, full of love. He helped 2,200 people within nine months to go from hopelessness with no job to having full-time employment. He helped people realize what was best about themselves and what their true potential was, and then showed them how to use that potential it was a gift."

While the community works to cope with the loss of Ghiglione, Jackson says the organization is more committed than ever to carry out what he began. "Mike had plans for expanding and moving on with the program so that more Micronesians including those here on Guam and the in CNMI become employable and improve their welfare," he said.

Merrill said, "Of course, it's a very sad time but if anything it's motivated us to make sure that CME grows and becomes even more successful and lives up to the legacy and vision that Mike laid out for us.

"We're going to miss him very, very much."

Ghiglione, father and sister are scheduled to arrive on Guam tomorrow to work out funeral arrangements. During an emergency board meeting today, the CME appointed John Contreras the acting interim executive director to ensure the program continues.

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