In the midst of a combative court case, the family of one victim is hoping to build something beautiful out of the tragedy.

Johnathan Pratt, 28, is charged with three counts each of impaired driving causing death, driving with a blood-alcohol content over .08, causing death and manslaughter in the deaths of Bradley Arsenault, 18, Thaddeus Lake, 22, and Kole Novak, 18.

One of the victims, Thaddeus Lake, was an aspiring musician and instrument fanatic before he died.

“Whatever instrument he could get his hands on he would play,” his mother Karen Lake recalls.

In order to honour their son’s love of music, his family has created a foundation to help aspiring musicians.

Music instructor Val Baron used to teach Thaddeus.

Now, thanks to financial aid set up by her former student’s parents, Baron is able to help out student musicians who hope to tour but lack the necessary funds.

“It's great for me to be able to go to Mom and Dad or to the kids and say you know what – we've got a solution,” she said.

“The parents are so grateful,” she added. “I've had some in tears – they're just so grateful that we can provide that for them.”

Donated money, instruments to be handed out

Soon, Baron and others will also accept a collection of musical instruments that were dropped off at the Lakes' home in his honour.

Dozens of instruments and about $30,000 in cash have been donated to the foundation.

Karen Lake says just before he died, Thaddeus said he wanted to help poor kids who couldn't afford to play music.

“Thaddeus would be so happy to know that, that because of him that the music is being spread out to kids that could normally not afford to have the opportunity.”

She says starting the foundation is helping her cope with her loss.

“Rather than ... being incredibly overwhelmed by the grief, [it’s good] to put my energies into something positive that will help us continue to spread his dream.”

“Our life sentence is to live without him,” she added. “Do I want to spend it in anger or do I want to put that energy to something more positive?”

The judge in the case is expected to announce his verdict on Thursday morning. 

Source: CBC News Edmonton


Last updated on: 2014-05-15 | Link to this post