|Birth: ||Feb. 19, 2003|
|Death: ||Feb. 26, 2012|
COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE
MARCH 3, 2012
~~~~ BOY'S DEATH LEAVES IMPACT ~~~~
Teen carried 9-year-old home in final moments
Shirley Moffit talks about how Arhied Jackson, 14, carried her grandson Rafael Andujar, 9, home after Rafael collapsed last weekend at the playground of the Bear Creek public housing site on Elleta Boulevard. The boy lost consciousness at the playground and died a short time later. Rafael attended third grade at Parkade Elementary School.
Twice in his young life, Arhied Jackson, 14, has found himself in the middle of tragedy.
The latest incident occurred Sunday. The Oakland Junior High School student, a resident of the Bear Creek public housing area in north Columbia, was playing with other neighborhood kids at the playground. Among them was Rafael Andujar, 9, who complained of chest pains. Arhied told Rafael to sit down and rest, but then Rafael lost consciousness.
Arhied quickly scooped the boy up and carried him to his family's house down the block.
"He ran with him," said Shirley Moffit, Rafael's grandmother, as she struggled to fight back tears. He ran down there with him."
Despite Arhied's efforts, Rafael died of a heart attack that day, Moffit said. But with Arhied's help, Rafael's family was able to be with the boy in his final moments. And for that, Moffit calls Ahried "my hero."
Arhied lives with his grandmother a few doors from Rafael's family but said he had never spoken with Rafael before that day. Rafael was the oldest of three children, Moffits said; the family had moved to Columbia from Chicago.
When Rafael lost consciousness at the playground, Arhied said, things almost happened too fast for him to think.
"It just happened," Arhied said. "That's how God does it. If you're sick, he's going to take you."
It made him think back to another time less than two years ago in which he became a helping hand for somesone whose life was in danger. Then 12, he was one of four people who, on Memorial Day weekend in 2010, were at Stephens Lake Park when a Congolese immigrant drowned in the park's swimming area. Arhied and the other rescuers found the victim underwater, pulled him ashore and attempted to perform CPR, but the man did not survive.
Arhied said after each incident, authorites asked him questions that seemed to carry a hint of suspicion about his involvement. He said he doesn't blame them - he understands they were doing their jobs. But after Rafael's death, suspicion about his involvement came from some peers, too. Arhied said a classmate asked him why he killed the young boy.
"Why would I kill someone?" Arhied said. "That's ridiculous."
Moffit said Rafael's family is grateful for Ahried's actions and does not want him to be accused of any wrongdoing. Moffit said her family has established a fund at Boone County National Bank in Rafael's name to help the family cope with funeral expenses. A funeral will be Monday in Chicago.
As for Arhied, he said he plans to enroll in first-aid classes to help him be more prepared in case he is once again holding someone's life in his hands. When Rafael's family calls a Arhied a hero, he remains stoic, but he said it makes him "feel great" to know he was there to help. "I want to do it for other people," he said.
~~~~~~~~ END OF ARTICLE ~~~~~~~~
Survived by parents, Rafael III. and Jannicka Andujar, a sister, Irianna, new baby brother, Jeremiah, born in Jan. 2012, and maternal grandmother, Shirley Moffit.
I had the pleasure of babysitting Rafael along with his little sister, Irianna. And my husband had the pleasure of teaching Rafael how to swim. We love you sweetheart and going to miss you very much. I'm sending you lots of Hugs and kisses until we all meet again.
Maryhill Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleum
Plot: Section 3, Block 34, Lot 47, Grave 16
Created by: Athena
Record added: Feb 27, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 85811759