Candles lit in memory of vibrant ‘little boy’

Hundreds gathered in Maple Ridge to remember Riddick Servio who died Nov. 22 after being run over by a van in a Pitt Meadows mall

Elaine Comeau

Elaine Comeau

As a circle of drummers from the Katzie First Nation marked a beat that mimics the heart, Colleen Pierre-Sam’s voice rises in an echo over Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge.

“We felt in our hearts that we had to be here,” said Pierre-Sam, as crowd of people made their way to the bandstand to write messages to the Servio family.

“Our healing is through songs.”

Three generations of the First Nations family from Pitt Meadows sang four songs to represent North, South, East and West – a complete circle.

“The good, the bad, the happy and the sad,” Pierre-Sam explains.

Riddick Servio and his mom Rowena were on their way to Tim Horton’s to get him a drink when they were hit by a mini-van at Meadowtown Centre on Nov. 22.

Two-year-old Riddick was pinned under the wheel and died in hospital.

On Tuesday, hours after his funeral, close to 200 people gathered in downtown Maple Ridge to remember the toddler.

Classmates of his five-year-old sister Temperance huddled in a circle at the front, clutching candles.

Strangers brought gifts to donate to the Christmas Hamper Society. Volunteers lit candles in lanterns that sent them soaring into the sky.

“This is our loss too,” said Pierre-Sam, who did a Coast Salish blanket ceremony for Riddick’s grandfather Jeff Bloom.

The blanket she gave him was blessed with prayers and songs. It’s meant to provide warmth, comfort and security to the person who wears it.

“We are gathered here to say we care,” said Pitt Meadows mayor Deb Walters, who was joined by Maple Ridge mayor Ernie Daykin, both at a loss for words.

“We feel sorrow and we want to help shoulder some of your pain. We want you to know that you are not alone,” she told the family.

Through tears, Riddick’s grandpa thanked the crowd for their support.

The vigil ended with a quote from A. A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh.

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

Donations pour in for Servio family

An online campaign to raise money for the family of a toddler who died after being run over in a Pitt Meadows mall has surpassed its target.

Laura Gondos — whose daughter went to daycare with Riddick and Cheryl Zanbergen started the gofundme.com account to help the Servio family while they grieve.

They hoped to raise $500 to fund a few meals but less than a day later, more than $5,000 had been donated.

By Tuesday evening, more 200 people had donated $7,505.

“I could tell the community was grieving the loss as well. People wanted to find a way to show their support for the family,” said Zanbergen, who doesn’t know the Servio family but has a daughter who is the same age as Riddick.

“We thought it was just going to be ten people. It’s totally overwhelming.”

• You can donate at www.gofundme.com/5fqpg8.