Young Mother’s Death Brings Town Together For Memorial Run

Sunday June 1st, 2014

Posted at 11:05am

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Darlene Meloche (Corey’s mother, left), Ben Meloche (Corey’s son, middle) and Dan Meloche (Corey’s father, right) stand beneath a banner at the Corey Meloche Walk event, an event created to bring the town together.

Hundreds paraded the streets and Navy Yard Park of Amherstburg, Saturday, in remembrance of young mother who’s death brought a town closer together.

The Corey Meloche Memorial Walk and Run began shortly after Corey died in a snowmobiling accident on January 10th, 2010. Darlene Meloche, Corey’s mother, said it was a terrible night for weather. Corey was the passenger on a snowmobile and when the driver hit the ditch Corey didn’t walk away from the accident. She was survived by her son, Ben, who at the time was 11 months old. He is now five and has participated in the walk each year with Corey’s family.

A man who worked with Corey at the Gym in town approached a family friend, saying he wanted to start something to raise money for Corey’s son, Ben. Corey’s family jumped on board and have allowed the fundraiser to evolve into something completely new over the last four years.

“I didn’t want the proceeds to come to Ben, we’re fine and it was okay the first year,” said Meloche. “So we decided to pick a charity or something local, I wanted to keep it local because the community gave us so much when we lost Corey and they were here for us and helped us through. So we decided to pick bursaries for General Amherst High School. The past three years and then this year all the proceeds will go to a bursary program and go to local students going to college or university.”

The bursary is called The Corey Meloche Memorial Bursary.

Last year, Meloche said about 120 people came out and they raised $2,000. Meloche donated $1,600 in bursaries for the high school and, with permission from the town and participants, gave $400 to a local family who lost their mother. Meloche said she wanted to share the wealth in Corey’s memory with a local family who was struggling through hard times.

Dan Pettypiece, former coach of the General Amherst Girls Hockey Team, said he and his team always makes a conscious effort to show their support. Corey was the first captain of the girls hockey team at General Amherst and she, along with Pettypiece, made sure the team took off.

While Pettypiece is in the process of retiring as head coach and is currently training a new coach for the team, he still feels a need to be involved with Corey’s walk and her family.

“I told Darlene as long as she has the barbeque I will be here, whether I have a connection with the team or not I will always be a part of it,” said Pettypiece. “I think that year kind of put everything into perspective for people. Hockey is there and everything is great but things can change really quickly and things like that, they usually make you stronger as people.”

The hockey team was involved with the Meloche family from day one. They were honorary pallbearers at the funeral and continue to show their support at the memorial walk – even new players come out.

Pettypiece said even if Corey wasn’t the strongest player on their team, she never let them fall short in support. From decorating her parents brand new van in streemers and markers at their first tournament, to cheering her teammates on from the bench, Corey was always there.

“Corey was awesome,” said Pettypiece. “She supported the kids whether they were the best player on the team or the weakest player on the team. She didn’t care … everybody she came in contact with, she lit up the room. It was great to have her a part of the team the very first year, she got it going.”

It’s important for people to remember her, according to Pettypiece and Meloche, even those who weren’t there at the time of the accident. They are the ones who have the carry on her memory. It’s a memory Meloche never wants to be forgotten.

“A lot of the faces are the same faces who come out every year and look forward to this,” said Meloche. “Just keep her memory alive. That’s a parent’s worst nightmare is that they’ll be forgotten and I know she won’t, I know she won’t be forgotten, and it’s wonderful to see all the people come out for us and come out for Corey … it’s a great event we look forward to every year.”

Corey Meloche’s son wears a specially made shirt in her memory to the walk each year.

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