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Community pays its respects to Lodge children (11 photos)

A drive-by, ice-lantern memorial Friday for Evan and Amanda Lodge, who died recently in a car accident, brings comfort to their family

A steady stream of cars rolled through the parking lot of Taylor Evans Public School Friday evening during a lantern memorial for Evan and Amanda Lodge.

“The scouts told us that this is something they would like to do for us so, we asked the school if it is okay,” said Evan and Amanda’s father Greg Lodge. “They said sure if people can just drive around and have a look and see the outpouring of love and support.”

People have been leaving items at the base of the school’s flagpole for more than a week.

“A lot of people have done this and we are very grateful for the community outreach,” said Lodge. “The school put the flag at half-mast last week and people have been coming past with little memorials.”

Evan died and his sister Amanda was critically injured Jan. 31 in a car accident south of Cambridge. Amanda was rushed to a hospital in Hamilton and treated for serious brain injuries but died five days later. The family announced that her organs have been donated.

Evan, Amanda, younger sister Alyssa and their mother Susan were returning home from a cross-country ski trip when their car was struck by a 17-year-old driver and pushed into the path of another vehicle moving in the opposite direction.

Alyssa was also injured in the crash but despite being temporarily confined to a wheelchair is recovering well and was with her parents at the memorial. 

Susan wasn’t physically injured but is still recovering emotionally.

“We are taking this one step at a time,” said Greg Lodge. “One hour at a time.”  

The memorial Friday was organized by family friends Matt and Esmeralda Pittman.

“I am the cub scout leader for 27th Guelph,” said Matt. “Amanda was a cub and Evan was a scout.  Alyssa is a cub as well. They are a very active family.”

The Pittmans and others from the scouting community lit dozens of ice lanterns in memory of Evan and Amanda and extended their support to Greg, Susan and Alyssa.

“They’ve been with the scouting group for about eight years,” said Esmeralda. “I am the beaver scouter and Susan is a scouter with our group.”

She said that items left beneath the school’s flagpole reflect Evan and Amanda’s interests and involvement in the community.

“Evan is a runner so, the runners are from the neighbourhood in honour of his running,” she said. “He was very quiet and then he would give you this nice smile and off he would go on any adventure you put in front of him. Amanda is passionate and creative. She loved to do gymnastics. They had very many communities.”

Greg Lodge said the response from the community has been very supportive and comforting.

“There are so many groups in the community we are part of, and we have been reaching out on this website,” he said. “A lot of people have been commenting on there and it brings us a little bit of peace what they have been saying to us.”

He encourages family and friends to connect with them that way.

“It is too bad with COVID that we can’t be with people in person,” he said.  “We won’t be able to have a traditional funeral so, we’ll be collecting memories and thoughts.”

The memorial Friday gave the family an opportunity to connect briefly but safely with some people in person.

“I want to thank the community and say thank you to 27th Guelph Scouts for putting this on,” he said. “I believe there are some other scout groups involved because of all these homemade ice lanterns. That is certainly more than just our group.”