New Castle News

December 3, 2012

Walk benefits family of Octavius Stone

Jeanette Robison
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The New Castle community came together Saturday to walk through Cascade Park for Octavius Stone.

At the 9 a.m. start, the sun was shining down on about 250 people who wanted to show support and sympathy for the little boy and his family.

The 7-year-old was killed when he was hit by a truck while playing in a neighbor’s yard on Winslow Avenue Nov. 25.

Sam Flora, New Castle High School athletic director, was the driving force behind the walk. An avid walker and Cascade Park neighbor, he said he felt the need to help Octavius’ family in some way.

He received permission from the mayor for the walk and requested a $10 donation for Octavius’ family, with children and pets walking for free.

At the opening ceremony, the Rev. Richard Nero of Southern Care offered prayer, followed by Flora, who thanked the community for their generosity.

“Good people around you make it easier to accomplish anything,” he said of the undertaking. He noted Brandi Ford, Diane Dattilo and his wife, Connie, helped with organizing the event.

Additional money was raised with a Chinese auction and a 50/50 raffle. Various businesses, along with Dunkin Donuts and May’s Donuts, donated coffee and doughuts for the walkers.

Special guest was Ozzy Velez, 9, Octavius’ playmate who also was hit by the truck. He made his way to the event with a walker, his mother Nataly and a smile.

“I wish I had a wheelchair, so I could walk with everyone here walking for Octavius,” he said.

There were picture buttons and T-shirts featuring Octavius and three New Castle boys showed their support by dressing up as the superheroes Octavius loved.

Antonio Dattilo, 12, was Spiderman; Noah Reid, 14, was Superman; and Michael Rivera Jr., 17, was Batman.

Kiley Pollio of New Castle walked up to Ozzy and gave him a handful of tickets for the raffles.

“We just had to be here,” Tiffany and Brian Cast of Shenango Township said, noting they have two children — Brayden, 9, and Brooke, 5, who are close to Octavius’ age.

Denise Taylor, also of Shenango Township, had her cocker spaniel, Riley, with her. Although her children are 25 and 27, she noted the tragedy hits close to home for anyone with children.

Cynthia Jones, Octavius’ mother, made a plea for “justice for my son.”

His father, Kris Stone, said, “The sadness that we feel is now growing into a celebration of Octavius’ life.”

Charlene Macri, who attended Saturday’s walk, shared her story. She said that when her brother, Phillip Macri, was paralyzed 25 years ago in a swimming accident, she felt the overwhelming support from the New Castle community.

“Give back as much as you can,” she urged.

Phillip Macri, who also was at the event, donated all the T-shirts.