Almost five years after the tragic and all-too-sudden death of their son J.P., Alex and Marilou Haughey have established a lasting legacy to honour his life and love of music.
On May 5, 2014, J.P. was driving classmates Sarah Wensley and Kara Mitsuing to track practice. A stolen vehicle driven by a drunk driver struck the vehicle, killing J.P. and Sarah, and seriously injuring Kara.
At an emotional event on Thursday, February 28—with many of J.P.'s former classmates in attendance—the Haugheys revealed the grand piano they donated to Bethlehem Catholic High School, the school J.P. attended.
"Music was his passion," said Marilou. "Music always filled the house, even the neighbourhood on a summer day when the windows were open. One of his dreams was to own a grand piano. We would go to Long and McQuade so he could play the grand piano there. I miss the sound of the piano. We think this gift to the school is a good way to keep our son's memory alive."
Family friend Andrea Desalisa performed a song on the piano. J.P.'s former band teacher, Darcie Lich and former home-room teacher, Camile St. Amand played a duet.
David Knight, principal at Bethlehem Catholic High School expressed his thanks to the Haughey family and the entire community. "The way this community came together—the school community, extended family and friends, the local Filipino community, and even people from overseas—to support the Haughey family and honour J.P. is inspiring. Thank you everyone, and a special thanks to Alex and Marilou."
Hon. Joe Hargrave, Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance said, "I would like to personally thank Alex and Marilou for all they have done to help in the fight against impaired driving in Saskatchewan. Their willingness to share their story of personal loss is a heartbreaking reminder to all of us that if you drive while impaired, your choice could take a life and forever change the lives of families left behind."
Bonny Stevenson, who also had a teen child killed by a drunk driver, spoke on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
All Bethlehem students and staff were given a St. Christopher, patron of travellers, prayer card. The prayer reads:
Dear Saint Christopher,
Protect me today.
In all my travels
Along the road's way.
Give your warning sign
If danger is near
So that I may stop
While the path is clear.
Be at my window
And direct me through
When vision blurs
From out of the blue.
Carry me safely
To my desired place,
Like you carried Christ
In your close embrace.