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The parents of 13-year-old Alexander See said it was in their late son’s nature to love and help others.
And they said so many members of their friends, family, and others in the community agreed.
“What I kept hearing … was that he was called the peacemaker amongst their friends,” said his father, Andrew See. After funeral services last weekend, he recalled the overwhelming support the family received. “That’s what I’m seeing the most of. He was really caring, and he wanted everybody to get along.”
Alexander died after being struck by an all-terrain vehicle while riding a dirt bike on Memorial Day at his father’s family’s property in Sanilac County.
Now, even in death, Andrew See and Alexander’s mother, Marci Dambacher, said they hope allowing their son to be a Gift of Life Michigan donor will help honor his legacy of kindness.
The Ann Arbor-based nonprofit works as a liaison between donors, hospitals, and transplant centers.
The decision for the two grieving parents came soon after tragedy struck. But Andrew See said he believed it’s what his son would’ve wanted.
Dambacher said it was important “in case somebody needed it.”
“Everybody has their own spiritual beliefs, like what happens after you leave this planet. I just feel like he’s behind the scenes, and he’s some kind of superhero, probably,” she said Tuesday. “Like he’s an angel superhero, and he’s working on things we can’t even comprehend. And I think by choosing the Gift of Life, maybe, (it) makes his job easier.”
Parents recall fun, proud memories with son Alexander
Each parent emphasized a similar importance of values with their son. But Marci Dambacher and Andrew See — long-time natives of the Port Huron and Croswell-Lexington areas, respectively — found different ways to bond with him.
During lockdown early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Dambacher said she and her son often set out on a loop from their home in the neighborhood behind Lake Huron Medical Center and around the Blue Water River Walk.
“And the one day he was wearing his Transformer Halloween costume, as Optimus Prime. I’m like, ‘Are you going to walk or ride my bike looking like this?’ He was like, ‘I’m not riding my bike looking like this!’” she said, recalling her son’s response with a laugh. “But he walked, and he was carrying his weapon – it was plastic, part of the costume. And we saw some police officers. … And so, he was like, ‘You don’t think they think I’m out doing something bad with the sword in my hand, do you?’”
In an interview this week, Dambacher frequently returned to other fun memories.
Going over photos, there was his closeness with his dog, a beagle mix named Charley — Andrew See also recalled Alexander being inseparable from his sister and brother-in-law’s 125-pound bloodhound Bow — the perm he got after growing out his hair, his collection of Transformers, and a silly pose they captured together eating spaghetti.
Alexander wrestled at school and enjoyed playing around on the drums, Dambacher said, and she once signed him up for karate.
But she was also proud of seeing the person he was growing into in other things he did. There was the local NAACP march they participated in during 2020, a sixth-grade bus incident that inspired a lesson about bullying and accountability, and listening to music together on the way to school.
“Listening to music with him was also a way to talk about topics,” Dambacher said, pointing to Eminem as an example.
Although he had shared a growing interest in riding motorcycles and four-wheelers with his son, Andrew See said Alexander also loved powerboating on Lake Huron with his dad and taking trips down to see his grandparents, whose home is on the St. Clair River.
They also enjoyed riding around in See’s classic car, a ’67 Firebird. See pointed to a trip last summer they took to visit family in Culpeper, Virginia, where they rode along the scenic Skyline Drive along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“We just had a blast doing that," he said. "And then the next day, we did just a personalized float down on the Shenandoah River, looking back up at the Skyline that we just did the day before on the motorcycle. That was a big highlight. He loved it so much.”
Family receives outpouring of community support
After news spread of Alexander See’s passing, there was a massive outpouring of support for the family on social media.
Andrew See said they felt the same response during funeral services and when there seemed to be an overflow of support from friends, community members, and family at Grace Church.
Marci Dambacher said there was a balloon-release ceremony with friends.
And the family also received a framed jersey with the number 14 — one number below Alexander’s favorite quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.
“Alexander was really looking forward to playing eighth-grade football,” Dambacher said. “This is a very special gift.”
To additionally honor Alexander’s memory, Dambacher later added the family was looking at raising funds to install “buddy” benches near local schools. Those interested in contributing could email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about or how to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, visit golm.org/register.
Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.
This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Parents of youth killed in Memorial Day accident honor son with Gift of Life donation