EMC News - For most people living in Barrhaven, the name Andy Moffitt
is not instantly familiar and recognizable. He wasn't a veteran
politician whose name is synonymous with the area, nor was he a powerful
But he did influence others with his hard
work, compassion and community spirit, and inspire others with his
final, selfless act of bravery. And this makes him as much a role model
and hero to the residents of the community as anyone could aspire to
As his mother says, "His footprints are everywhere in Barrhaven."
Moffitt died of a stab wound received as he intervened in a fight
between a friend and a violent aggressor at an Ottawa restaurant on the
night of Dec. 23, 1998. He was 23 years old, and had planned to drive
home later that night to spend Christmas with his family.
sacrificing his life to protect his friend, Andy was posthumously
awarded the Medal of Bravery by the Governor General. Now the community
he grew up in will commemorate his life and immortalize his name by
changing the name of Edgeware Park (commonly referred to as Berrigan
Woods) into 'Andy Moffitt Trail'.
City council approved the
renaming on Sept. 22, and a ceremony scheduled for Oct. 27 will make it
official. The renaming was made possible by the city's Commemorative
Naming Program, created as a means to formally recognize individuals
"who demonstrate excellence, courage or exceptional service to the
citizens of Ottawa, the Province of Ontario, or Canada."
Under the program, the names of municipal streets, parks or facilities can be created or changed to honour these individuals.
"This is a way of bringing Andy's spirit home," said his mother, Paulette Moffitt.
Moffitt explained that her and her husband, Rod, brought Andy to their
new Barrhaven home when he was two years old. Between that time and when
the family left to move to Brockville (when Andy was 17), Andy and his
brothers Michael and Rod Jr. were involved in numerous sports in the
community. He attended St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School in his youth and
Confederation High School as a teen.
"Andy and his brother were one of the first kids to take swimming lessons at the Walter Baker Centre," said Ms. Moffitt.
moving to Brockville, Andy returned regularly to visit friends in
Barrhaven, and eventually enrolled in Computer Engineering at the
University of Ottawa. On the night he died, Andy was celebrating the end
of exams with friends from the university.
Following his death,
Andy's parents created the Andy Moffitt Memorial Scholarship Fund with
his life insurance money. With help from the community and the province
of Ontario, the fund was able to reach $158,000, and now assists
students entering the faculty of engineering.
Andy's name gained
nation-wide prominence when his parents fought to have a Private Members
Bill (Bill C-393), calling for mandatory minimum sentences for crimes
committed with knives, passed in Parliament. Ultimately, however, the
Bill did not pass.
To preserve his memory, several months ago
Andy's parents sought the help of Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder's office,
appealing for his name to be included on something, anything in the
"A street name, something to keep him alive,"
explained Ms. Moffitt. "Within a few days we got an e-mail from Jan
herself saying she would look into it...This (park naming) is almost
like a dream come true for Andy."
Berrigan Woods is located to
the north of Berrigan Dr. between Greenbank Rd. and Longfields Dr. It is
one of the few large stands of trees in central Barrhaven. The location
came to mind quickly as Coun. Harder talked to the Moffitts.
Moffitts are lovely people - they came to me seven months ago, still
heartbroken," said Coun. Harder. "I started thinking about the trail in
Berrigan Woods. (The application) went to the Commemorative Naming
Program and the Community and Protective Services Committee approved
A large rock at the entrance to the trail will contain a
plaque telling the public Andy's story. Ms. Moffitt said all of Andy's
family will be at the ceremony on Oct. 27.
Coun. Harder said she was pleased that the naming program existed so that the Moffitts could get their wish.
just one of the nice things that you can still do in the city," she
said. "All my staff really understood what their desire was - we're
really pleased that it worked out."