MERION STATION, Pa. (CBS) – The death of Saint Joseph’s student Mark Dombroski shocked the region last year. Family and friends are working to keep his memory alive.
What was supposed to be a family trip, watching the 19-year-old Dombroski compete in the sport he loved, turned into a tragedy for the Saint Joseph’s University freshman’s family.
“It has been so hard. It was shocking,” Lisa Dombroski said. “I mean, you don’t go on a trip and don’t come back. It was a tragic accident. There is a fort from the 1800s and unfortunately, Mark died as a result of a fall.”
The accident happened in March 2018 as Mark and his teammates were in Bermuda for a rugby tournament. Some of those same players and his former classmates at Waldron Mercy Academy gathered at a playground on the Merion Station Campus for a very special unveiling Wednesday.
Dombroski’s family is taking the tragedy and turning it into something positive.
They’ve created a foundation in his name and Wednesday, they dedicated a special bench.
“Mark’s classmates from Waldron Mercy Academy Class of ’13 organized the purchase of a buddy bench in memory of Mark,” Lisa Dombroski said.
It will be a place where students who may feel left out or may not have anyone to play with can go to find a friend, perhaps even someone with a personality similar to Mark Dombroski.
“Mark was such a fun kid and such a kind kid,” his mother said.
He was simply someone who was ready to hang out.
“He was always nice on the playground to the little kids,” Lisa Dombroski said, “so we think it’s the absolute perfect tribute for Mark.”
And though Mark Dombroski will never be able to see it, his mother hopes those who sit there will be comforted with that buddy, a friend just like Mark was for so many others.
“I really want his legacy to be one of kindness and reaching out to others,” she said.