A young life worth remembering
A young life worth remembering
A young life worth remembering
Kristy Nease
The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA-Andy Moffitt wasn't a star athlete, or a politician. He never had the chance to become rich or famous. He is, however, worth remembering.

When he was killed more than 11 years ago trying to break up a fight in an Ottawa bar, he was a university student out celebrating the end of an exam period.

He rushed to help a friend being attacked by a stranger, and after managing to pull the two of them apart, that stranger pulled a knife and stabbed him.

Once was enough to end Andy's life. It was Dec. 23, 1998, and he was 23 years old.

On Wednesday morning, the City of Ottawa paid tribute to Andy's legacy by renaming a park in his memory.

Edgeware Park in Barr-haven, more commonly known as Berrigan Woods, is now the Andy Moffitt Trail. It's just a few blocks away from where Andy grew up.

Flanked by family, friends and media, Andy's mother Paulette Moffitt shook slightly as she spoke to the crowd. Her husband Rod Moffitt stayed close behind her.

'Losing Andy broke our hearts and changed us forever,' Paulette said. 'We only had one wish for Andy, and that was that he never be forgotten. Today our wish has come true.'

Realized through the city's commemorative naming policy, it took six months to get from the idea to Wednesday's unveiling. The plaque will be mounted on a large Barrhaven stone at the site off Berrigan Drive. The trail hasn't yet been finished, but Andy's family was glad they didn't have to wait until spring for the ceremony.

Andy's aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends attended the Wednesday ceremony. Also there were his two brothers, Rod Jr. and Michael.

The plaque calls Andy ' who was posthumously awarded a Medal of Bravery in 2003 ' a 'humble, honourable, and a brave soul.'

'There is no greater love than a man who lays his life down for a friend.'

Paulette called Andy 'everyone's hero,' and said the plaque will help his story carry on.

'I hope everyone who walks down Andy's trail will be inspired by him to be the best that they can be,' Paulette said. 'The Andy Moffitt Trail is the final page of Andy's story. It also brings us as close as it is possible for closure. Andy's spirit is home now.'

Craig Wells was Andy's best friend, and he also spoke to the crowd of friends and supporters.

'He didn't follow in anybody else's footsteps, he made his own trail for others to follow,' Wells said.

Wells has two children of his own now, both sons. The eldest, at five years old, is named Andrew. Christian is two years old.

Wells said he'll be visiting Andy Moffitt Trail with the boys to teach his children 'the true meaning of the word hero.

'To me, that will be Andy's legacy,' he said.

After the ceremony, Andy's younger brother Michael said he was pleased.

'We've been through a lot over the past 11 years,' said Michael, who is now the same age as Andy was when he died. 'There's been a lot of good, and there's been a lot of (bad).

'We're grateful to the city, we're grateful to everybody here supporting us.'

   Letter to the Media
   Bill C-393
   Our Angel
   Thank You
   Mike's Speech
   Memorial Speech
   Andy's Story
   Our Brother