School seats dedicated to Andrew and Matthew Moeller, killed in tragic car accident in 2009
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
It was another step in the healing process for the Moeller family and their community at St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School June 1, as students, faculty, and parents gathered to honour Andrew and Matthew Moeller.
The brothers died Nov. 29, 2008, in a car accident which also paralyzed their brother Karl. As 2012 would have been the year of Andrew's Grade 7 graduation, the school raised money to build and dedicate benches to keep alive the memories of Andrew and Matthew.
"In January the Grade 7s and I were planning to have a dance that would raise money for their graduation," said Bernice Sabellico, a parent at St. Francis of Assisi and mother of Andrew's friend Anthony. "We wanted to leave a legacy gift for Andrew, who would have graduated with them."
Sabellico spearheaded the fundraising effort. "I didn't know how to raise the money needed, so I just started to ask for donations, and people were so willing to help."
After raising enough money for a bench dedicated to Andrew, Sabellico needed an extra financial push to get a bench for Matthew. She said her husband grew up with Francesco Aquilini, owner of the Vancouver Canucks. She wrote Aquilini a letter asking him if he could help.
"Francesco was so generous," said Sabellico. "He donated a Canucks jersey signed by the team which we used to run a raffle for the rest of the money. So here we are with two benches, one for Matthew and one for Andrew."
The dedication ceremony was presided over by pastor Father Eugenio Aloisio, who blessed the benches. Andrew and Matthew's parents Geoff and Maria and their brothers Karl and Lorenzo were in attendance.
"It's very special to me that Bernice would do something like this and that the school would want to have a visible reminder of my boys," said Geoff Moeller. "Lorenzo will be starting kindergarten (September 2012) and will see these benches during his time at St. Francis."
The bench dedication concludes a trying experience for the Moeller family. Geoff credits his faith in God and the community of St. Francis of Assisi Parish with getting the family through the tragedy.
"I miss their (Andrew's and Matthew's) hugs, smiles, laughter, the way they sleep, the way they look," he wrote in letter to The B.C. Catholic Jan. 29, 2009, that thanked the Catholic community in Vancouver for their support of the family.
"However, I would not ask God to give them back to me because they have reached the goal I had in mind for them: heaven!"