MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Funerals were held Friday for the two fourth graders who died when a land slide buried them under dirt and rocks during a field trip Wednesday in Lilydale Park.
Family and friends attended services for Haysem Sani and Mohamed Fofana, as a growing memorial continues to expand at the two boys’ school, Peter Hobart Elementary in St. Louis Park.
Gov. Mark Dayton attended and shared a message helping the children to understand death through a personal story of his own. He told the story of how he lost his best friend in an accident similar to the one that took place at Lilydale.
“I wish I could say something to make it all better, and I wish I could explain something as to why this terrible thing happened,” he said. “I can’t. But I know, looking and seeing all of you, Haysem and Mohamed’s spirits will be carried on through all of you.”
He continued on: “If you want to cry, cry. If you feel sad, feel sad. Remember the good things and time you spent with your friends.”
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports
Two other boys were hurt, but survived. Grief counselors were at the school helping students cope with the loss of their classmates.
Cadi Thyne is a mother of two children at Peter Hobart Elementary School.
“One of them gets it, and the other doesn’t and said ‘How does the earth do that?'” Thyne said.
Thyne said she was on the same trip last year.
“Now my second grader said to me, ‘Do I have to go?'” she said.
For other parents, it’s still hard to fathom the events.
“That could have been my daughter,” said Crystal Lawrence, whose daughter was on the trip.
Mother Andraya Thompson said it’s hard to watch the children experience the emotional toll.
“It’s challenging to watch your child be affected by something so tragic,” Thompson said.
Those wishing to contribute to the victims’ fund can do so by dropping off donations to the “Peter Hobart Children’s Fund” at the Citizens Independent Bank locations in St. Louis Park, Robbinsdale, Hopkins and Plymouth.
There’s also an auction taking place, too.