Remembering a beloved Chesterfield teacher - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Remembering a beloved Chesterfield teacher

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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

Hundreds of students, teachers, and members of the community gathered at Chesterfield's Off the Ark Exotic Pets store for a candlelight vigil.

There they gathered to pay tribute to Vinny Ferraiolo – the man who owned the store. Ferraiolo loved animals but he also loved teaching. He was a Thomas Dale High School science teacher as well.

Flowers and candles were left standing for a beloved teacher in front of the store and emotions were high.

"He almost came as a father figure just someone to talk to when no one else was there, and he would listen and care for you like no one else would," said student, Ryan Pettry.

"He would just help you with anything, anything you had, and I wish I had the honor of having him this year… he really will be missed he's just an amazing guy and my heart goes out to his family and my prayers go out to his family, and I just wish him the best," said student, Kayla Neal.

Many are still in shock by the news that Ferraiolo was found dead at the shop just after noon Friday. EMS initially responded to the shop for a cardiac arrest call but we'll have to wait for the official cause of death.

In front of the shop, so many have gathered to remember and pay tribute to the man who worked and died here.

"To see everyone come out like this, and just to see everyone's love for Vinny, it le me know I could better myself as a person, I could better myself as a man, just to take time out and better myself everyday it's definitely something Vinny has taught me," said friend, Troy Thomas.

Chesterfield school officials told us they are working on making support services available to students and staff at Thomas Dale when school reopens Monday.

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