Friends, family and special strangers


I am going to do something unusual here.

It's something I can't do in my usual capacity as a reporter, because, quite frankly, news space is always restricted. (I should have said 'limited' here, as in space limitations, not actual "restrictions." -Ed.)

Earlier today, I interviewed Josi Doran and Dave Munro, the parents of Dasan Munro, who was taken from us recently in a tragic accident.

They took the courageous step of speaking publicly in their darkest hours to thank the community for its heartfelt support.

And they gave me a copy of a letter to the community.

It's too long to include in the newspaper, but, reading it, I was struck by just how much of a logistical challenge grieving is – how it would, in fact, be next to impossible to celebrate publicly the life of a lost loved one without help, and lots of it.

I can't imagine the suffering this couple is going through, but if you read this through to the end, you will see how we can all imagine what we can do when someone is stricken to the core of their being by unspeakable loss.

So, here is their letter:

Pastor Randy Hopkins – when trying to figure out who would complete the ceremony, we wanted someone who knew us and the kids, but would keep things simple for the kids to understand.

I was at the hospital and looked up and Randy was there. He was the perfect person and I was relieved.

We cannot thank Randy enough for celebrating Dasan's life and taking care of our family during this entire process.

Ian Marion and Brent McAlliser – for delivering beautiful eulogies to also celebrate Dasan's life and tell some stories that meant so much to them and us.

Todd and Bill Barclay and families – the compassion and support for our family was overwhelming. They made an impossible situation seem possible because of their care and respect, from delivering flowers, making DVD copies of our pictures, a beautiful candle to remember Dasan and just simply taking such great care of Dasan and our family.

Prescott Fire Department, Augusta Fire Department and Leeds and Grenville Emergency Medical Services who were at the scene of the accident and also paid their respects to Dasan and our family at the services.

Peel Regional Police for driving us anywhere we needed and the generous outpouring of support.

For all the Ontario Provincial Police officers who gave us a police escort and honour guard for Dasan's funeral from Prescott, Brockville and Lansdowne OPP detachments:

Kerlous Tawdrous; Rob Sinclair; Craig Kelso; Brian Jones; Kevin Lamacraft; Marty McConnell; Theresa Baker; Jody Botham; Tim Jackson; Michael Wright; Jason Sparks; Tara Currie.

Also special thanks to the OPP officers who gave Dasan and I a police escort to CHEO that night.

Thank you to Tracy Sawyer Brown who organized the donations people and thank-you letters to all who donated food and time for after the funeral. She said 'she had a job to do and that's all there was to it.'

Thank you to all the businesses who donated food and money for the reception after the service:

Prescott Tim Hortons; O'Reilly's Your Independent Grocer; 3M Canada; Brockville Walmart; Willard's Bakery; Brockville Real Canadian Superstore; Heusser Farms; Limerick Environmental; Subway Brockville and Cardinal.

To all the members, friends and families of Brockville Ladies' Slo-Pitch League, Brockville Women's Recreational Hockey League, thank you for the food donations, time and support and help at the reception and after. So amazing. South Grenville District High School for allowing us to have the funeral and reception at the school, thank you so much.

Kim Bologna – for setting up Dasan's memorial fund, thank you.

Andrew Dickson – for getting an autographed stick to raffle at Prescott Flyers game – thank you.

"Prescott Flyers Hockey – thank you for the very generous donation of all the proceeds from the stick raffle.

"Colonial Flowers – Marilyn Gill – thank you for creating such a beautiful arrangement that Dasan would have loved. So unique and beautiful – like Dasan.

To everyone who sent flowers either to the house or funeral parlour – they were beautiful and a wonderful tribute to Dasan – thank you.

Riverside Buick GMC – making sure we had a vehicle and anything else we might need, thanks.

Victim Services of Leeds and Grenville for making sure we have someone to help us through this tragedy.

Rose Williams and SGMHA Executive – their support for our family, starting a fund for Dasan and our family and making sure all the kids in our hockey families were taken care of.

Our Atom B Rep Hockey families for filling our freezer with food and our hearts with love and support: Your generosity truly made us feel we had 'extra family.'

To all the hockey families from South Grenville, our district and surrounding areas from all divisions for so much support: Signed stick, flowers, heartfelt condolences and very generous donations to Dasan's fund. It is amazing to see hockey families come together.

Special thank you for Kemptville PeeWee B Panthers and Brockville PeeWee Jr. B Braves and all other Eastern Ontario hockey teams for their thoughtful tributes to Dasan and our family.

PhotoVisions for making many copies of Dasan's school pictures to share with our family and friends; Hanlon Photography for also making many copies of Dasan's hockey picture (with the memorable DM8 on it) to also share with our hockey families.

Sheldon and Diane Shane for the beautiful memorial plaque and verse of Dasan. We will cherish it forever.

To the Under the Lock Tournament organizers and all the hockey teams who participated in the challenge started by the Elmvale Coyotes PeeWee team to donate all tournament refunds to Dasan's Memorial Fund. The outpouring of support from strangers still leaves us in awe and thanks to the staff and students at St. Mark Catholic School for their support for our family during this difficult time. The thoughtful letters, poems, verses and prayers for Dasan and us were beautiful.

To the St. Mark teachers, Mary Anne Dixon and Colleen Haller and family for preparing and providing dinner at the wake for our friends, families – incredible.

The students at St. John Bosco Grades 2/3 class for their prayers and cards of remembrance for Dasan and our family.

Clarke Flynn, Bob Guiel and Liz and Tim Wood for their friendship and support for a speedy recovering for Dave.

Mark Juneau and Cheryl VanLuit for coordinating the incredible tribute to Dasan on Hockey Night in Canada.

Thank you to the Brockville Winter Classic Committee and Meghan MacDonald for honouring Dasan's memory in this weekend's Alumni Game.

All the newspapers and media for respecting our privacy and thoughtful articles on the tragedy.

To the special stranger who makes sure there is a candle lit for Dasan every day and night at his place of rest: Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

To all the other people who have placed mementoes, candles, etc. at Dasan's grave, thank you for those items.

To all of our family and friends, neighbours and co-workers who have supported our family in so many ways: Donations to Dasan's fund, brought food to the house; went to the dump; got groceries; plowed or snowblowed our driveway; brought in wood and just offered endless support.

Also to our friends and family who were always available to us, from the night of the crash to every day following making sure we were fed, held and holding us up when we felt too sad to go on. Chayton and Declan were so well taken care of. Thank you.

An overall thank you to everyone who has helped our family and friends through this difficult time: The stories of Dasan and his selfless acts at school, on the school bus, in the rink, on the soccer field and everywhere he went, make us so proud to be his parents.

We apologize if we have missed anyone as there has been such an outpouring of support for us from friends, family and strangers that makes us proud to be members of this community.

Ashley Hill and the staff and friends at Podium Sports Therapy and Wellness Clinic for your support and friendship; Kim Hubbard for helping me with my headaches and silent time, no questions asked.”