Memorial garden planned for teacher killed in boat accident

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email | facebook
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Students and teachers at a Henrico County school are putting together a memorial for an elementary school teacher who died last summer.

Amanda Brady, 25, was killed during a boating accident on the Rappahannock River over the Fourth of July holiday.

The community at Longan Elementary School is hosting a silent auction Saturday night.  They want to raise money to create a memory garden in honor of Brady.

Candy Fitzpatrick, a teacher at Longan Elementary School said "we just want to make something to remember her."

It's just dirt right now, but it's going to be a memory garden that will honor of Brady, who was a 5th grade teacher at the school.

"She was an amazing person; she was a born teacher," Fitzpatrick said.

Brady's death has been making our headlines since last summer, when what was supposed to be holiday fun took a tragic turn.  Police say former Richmond Fire Captain Steve Nixon was drinking and driving a boat over the Fourth of July holiday when it slammed into a channel marker.  Nine people were rescued; some were severely injured.

Amanda Brady was killed in the crash.  She was engaged to Nixon's younger brother, who was also on the boat.  Still grieving her death, those who knew and loved her are working now on a tribute to her life.  This garden will honor Brady and other teachers who've passed away.

"We wanted something that would be permanent and would really be here for a long time," Fitzpatrick said. "Where we are planting it at school is right in the middle, right next to our main sidewalk, so people are going to pass it multiple times every day, so we are really hoping that they get a chance to be at peace with everything."

The school is hosting a silent auction to raise the money to fund the memory garden.  More than 100 items collected by students and teachers or donated by the community are up for grabs, things like themed baskets, gift certificates, and even this guitar.  Organizers hope people will come out to help this community's healing.

"For the previous students that she had, and the students that she could have had, it's just something that we wanted to do to help everybody," she said.

The goal is to complete the memory garden by the end of the school year.  The silent auction event is Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Longan Elementary School at 9200 Mapleview Drive in Henrico.  Light refreshments will be served, and all proceeds will go the memory garden.  This event is adults only.

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