Roxbury residents celebrated the end of the school year at a party in Apple Lane Park Friday night, but police kept the media at a distance because townspeople were also celebrating a life.
“He was a very happy kid. He really was. Sometimes people embellish how someone was. Always smiling, they say he was the hugger in the class,” said first selectman Barbara Henry.
Joey Awlasewicz died Thursday in an ATV crash. His family initially reported him missing, prompting a multi-department police search. Investigators found the boy’s body in the woods near his house on Carriage Lane hours later.
The police report said Joey wasn’t wearing a helmet. Troopers later said that detail was incorrect.
“He absolutely was wearing a helmet, and a good helmet, too. It’s unfortunate that — the family just doesn’t need to hear something like that. It could be a perception that they don’t need,” said Henry.
For those who needed to talk, grief counseling was made available at town hall and Joey’s school. He just graduated fifth grade this week.
“His class of 22 kids have been very distraught. Their parents have been very distraught, but they all do want to look at how we can help to keep his memory alive,” said Henry.
She said that meant holding a moment of silence for Joey at the park, but also taking time to have fun at the party.
“It’s a chance, an opportunity to give the kids a place to get together,” said Henry. “This is happiness, and that’s what it should be about. It’s how he lived. That’s what they should be remembering, not what happened and how he died.”
A Go Fund Me page is set up to help the Awlasewicz family: http://www.gofundme.com/aj6084?forcedesktop=1