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Family creates scholarship in
memory of murdered son
Andrew Moffitt's heart was bigger than the World Wide Web and now his legacy will help others follow their love of computers.
|By: Ronald Zajac
The 23-year-old son of Paulette and Rodney Moffitt, of Brockville, was stabbed in the heart on December 23, as he tried to break up a fight at a student hangout in Ottawa.
Now the family of the University of Ottawa computer engineering student is setting up a scholarship fund in his memory.
“We can't accept what happened to Andy, to be slain the way he was,” his mother said Friday. “This is the only way that we can keep his memory alive forever. Something good has to come out of this.”
The Andrew Moffitt Memorial Scholarship Fund will benefit Ontario students in computer or electrical engineering at the university. While family members are still deciding on the specific criteria for qualifying students, they want the scholarship to reflect Andrew's caring, giving spirit, said older brother Rod Jr., 27, a computer programmer at Nortel in Ottawa.
He hopes the scholarship will last for generations, a fitting tribute to his brother.
The family and school are looking for donations to the fund. The Ontario government has promised to match all contributions made by March 31, said faculty of engineering spokesman Julie Morton.
“We really have quite high hopes,” she said. “The response has been very positive.”
The faculty hopes to award the first Andrew Moffitt scholarship in April, when he was to graduate. The school will also unveil a plaque in his memory at that time, Morton said.
The plaque and Andrew's picture will be placed alongside memorials for the 14 women murdered by Marc Lepine in the 1989 massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, she said.
Andrew's memory is also being honoured on the World Wide Web.
Rod Jr. has created a memorial Web site, a sort of archive for stories and information about Andrew, as another lasting tribute. Andrew worked part time with his brother at Nortel, where the pair developed firmware, a type of software.
“It's constantly growing,” Rod Jr. said in a telephone interview, noting people keep adding to the site.
The Web site gives Andrew a chance to touch other people's lives, lives he may have touched were he not so senselessly robbed of his own life, he said.
Working on the project also had great therapeutic value.
“At first it was very difficult to look at Andy's picture,” he said. “(Now) in some way, I'm communicating with Andy.”
The manner of Andrew's death, a knife to the heart, is a cruel coincidence for his family. He was born with a congenital heart disease that almost took his life at birth, his mother recalled. His recovery was a miracle.
“They gave us no hope whatsoever.”
Then, two years ago, he contracted a virus that led to a heart attack.
Now, his deeper heart lives on in the memories of others.
Meanwhile, his younger brother, Michael, who recently turned 12, is turning to his faith to help him deal with the terrible loss. He says he has to stay good so he can one day join his brother in heaven, his mother said.
At the same time, the child, like the rest of the family, is eager to see justice done.
In another tragic coincidence, another Brockville man, a fellow University of Ottawa student whom the victim didn't know, has been charged in the incident.
Henry Danninger, 26, has been charged with second-degree murder.
University of Ottawa students are still coming to terms with Andrew's violent death, Morton said.
“We walk by the place where it happened every day. That's a tough reminder.”
People can send donations to the scholarship to: Andrew Moffitt Memorial Scholarship Fund, University of Ottawa, Alumni and Development Office, 190 Laurier Ave. E., Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, or call the office at (613)-562-5800, extension 3432.
The memorial Web site's address is: www.memoriam.org.
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