EMC News - For Rod and Paulette Moffitt, parents of slain University of
Ottawa student Andy Moffitt, Oct. 27 couldn't have been more beautiful.
morning that saw their son's name permanently affixed to a wooded
Barrhaven trail dawned brilliantly sunny and unseasonably warm, while
the outpouring of support from friends and community members added to
the comfort of a day 12 years in the making.
Andy Moffitt, who
grew up in Barrhaven along with his two brothers, died of a stab wound
in an Ottawa restaurant two days before Christmas 1998. The computer
engineering student, who was intervening in a fight to protect his
friend, was 23 years old.
Andy's final, selfless act of bravery
was recognized with a posthumous Medal of Bravery, but until this day
his legacy only existed in the hearts and minds of those who cherished
his company. Now, thanks to the city's Commemorative Naming Program,
residents who never met Andy can learn about his life as they walk the
Andy Moffitt Trail in what was formerly known as Edgeware Park (commonly
known as Berrigan Woods).
The woods are located on the south side of Berrigan Dr., between Greenbank Rd. and Longfields Dr.
Andy's parents, grandparents, and brothers Rod Jr. and Michael for the
official plaque unveiling were friends, old neighbours, and political
representatives from both Barrhaven and the Moffitt's new home in
Brockville. All supported the idea of the naming.
how many paths (Andy) crossed in life," said Barrhaven ward Coun. Jan
Harder. "There have been many stories shared over the past few months,
and they wanted to do something special...We started to look around and
thought about where Andy lived. We started to think that this was a
great place, and if you look into the forest behind me, I think you'll
With a voice that sometimes cracked with emotion,
Paulette thanked the large crowd on behalf of herself and her family for
their tireless support.
"Even in death, Andy continues to have an impact on so many people everywhere," she said.
was born, raised and lost his life in Ottawa. Andy didn't get to live
out his life and see all of his dreams come true because of a terrible
act of violence. Parents are not supposed to bury their children -
losing Andy broke our hearts and changed us forever. We only had one
wish for Andy, and that was that he never be forgotten. Today our wish
has come true."
Paulette described how Andy was an "outdoor kid,"
constantly involved in sports and outdoor recreation. Naming a wooded
trail after him was "so fitting."
"I hope that everyone who walks
down Andy's trail will be inspired by him to be the best that they can
be," she said. "Now all of Andy's cousins and friends will be able to
bring their children for a walk down Andy's trail...Andy will never be
forgotten now - generations will come and read his plaque, and they will
pass on his story. This trail is Andy's legacy."
The commemoration brings with it as close to closure as is possible, said Paulette.
Also on hand to speak was Andy's best friend Craig Wells, who named his son in Andy's memory.
was always the one encouraging others to take a chance, whether it was
encouraging others to learn a new hobby or skill, or taking a
last-minute road trip to New York City for the weekend. He was always
there to give up his time and himself for others, as evidenced by his
last selfless act to come to the aid of a friend...To Andy, this
(community) was home, and he always planned to return here. Now I feel
in my heart that he has come home. I look forward to visiting here with
my son as he grows older, and tell him the true meaning of the word
The last to speak was Andy's brother, Rod Jr., who
described the 12 years he and his brother spent growing up in Barrhaven,
a community he would like to return to with his family. He thanked the
City of Ottawa and the staff of Harder's office for their help in having
their wish realized.
Half of the money to pay for the trail came
from the office budget of Harder, and half from the city's department
of parks, recreation and culture. The large boulder that the plaque will
be affixed to was recovered from the Southwest Transitway dig, which is
occurring adjacent to where the trail will be located.
ceremony concluded with the cutting of a special cake adorned with the
words 'Andy Moffitt' and 'Welcome Home'. Speaking after the ceremony,
Paulette said that to see everyone who knew Andy all in one place was
"very touching" and shows that her son will never be forgotten.
"It says a lot for Andy - he loved everyone, and wanted everyone to be happy. He's happy today, and I'm sure he's very proud."
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