Remembering 'Brady Boy': Vigil honours man killed in Saint-Charles hit and run
Brady Francis of Elsipogtog First Nation died in a hit and run on Saturday night
The community of Elsipogtog First Nation filled the pews inside a local church on Sunday night to remember a man killed in a hit and run over the weekend.
Brady Francis, 22, was waiting for a drive home in Saint-Charles, a community about 100 kilometres north of Moncton near Richibucto.
The Elsipogtog resident was on the shoulder of Saint-Charles Sud Road, when he was struck and killed by a vehicle that fled the scene.
Francis was found later by friends who happened to drive by and spot him.
"The reason for the service was to bring the youth together to share the pain and start the healing process," said Ruth Levi, band councillor and director of social services in Elsipogtog.
She said a candlelight vigil was held to help community members heal.
This was not only hard for us to lose a fine member of our community but the fact that it was a hit and run, brought out a lot more anger.-Ruth Levi, band councillor
"Brady was a very, very well-liked young man here in the community."
Jody Milliea, a resident of Elsipogtog First Nation, was also there.
He attended the vigil to remember Francis, who was his godson. He was also there to support his best friend, Francis's father.
Milliea learned of the tragedy when Francis's father sent him a text Saturday night around 10 p.m. Immediately, he drove to the scene where Francis was struck.
Milliea believes the vigil was to help let younger community members mourn.
"First and foremost would be the pain the youngsters are feeling because it was such a tragic death," he said. "They are all there for each other."
Milliea said his godson was very friendly and was considered a friend to everybody.
"He was all smiles, no matter a stranger, no matter a friend. He was a very beautiful person."
Levi echoed Milliea's comments.
"Brady was loved by everybody," said Levi. "We're all hurting right now."
She described Francis as a handsome young man who would light up a room.
"He was just always Brady Boy," she said.
"He had all kinds of nicknames and he had a name for you … he was just happy to see everybody."
An emotional service
Levi said there was no formal organization for the vigil that saw more than 100 people.
"It just flowed."
Traditional drumming and Mi'kmaq songs were part of the service, followed by prayers and words of comfort from Rev. Raymond Desjardins.
Almost everyone held a candle to remember Francis, while others held a picture of him.
Desjardins also praised the community for coming together in solidarity in a time of grief.
The service concluded with the Mi'kmaq Honour Song. Meanwhile, everyone was invited by Levi to turn to the person standing beside them and share a hug. This was also part of the healing process.
Levi said funeral arrangements will be made in the coming days. Francis is survived by his parents, a brother and three sisters.
"We have suffered a great loss," Levi said. "This was not only hard for us to lose a fine member of our community but the fact that it was a hit and run, brought out a lot more anger."