Despite its best efforts, the Northeast Philadelphia community could not save Brandon Boyle from a tragic death. But folks have done perhaps the next-best thing.
They’ve run to aid the 13-year-old drowning victim’s grief-stricken family.
“It’s an absolute godsend the way the community pulled together,” said Mike Boyle, the boy’s uncle. “It was really good to see there are still good people in this world.”
Friends, neighbors and even strangers wasted no time rallying volunteer search parties after Brandon’s July 1 disappearance in the Pennypack Creek. Someone created the “Pray for Brandon” Facebook page, which became a go-to site for information. The page had about 238,000 hits as of Monday, Boyle said.
“There were people in the park who we really didn’t even know,” he said.
Members of the Bethel Franklin Mills church organized their own search parties, too.
“People just stopped their lives for a week to help a family,” Boyle said.
The son of James and Kimberly Boyle, Brandon was one of six siblings. The family has lived in Bell’s Corner since 1999. Brandon had recently graduated from eighth grade at the Louis H. Farrell School and was due to attend Northeast High next fall.
Brandon Boyle’s body was recovered from the banks of the creek near the 2700 block of Holme Avenue early on July 4. That evening about 200 people reportedly attended a memorial vigil at the site of his disappearance.
With the family confronted with unexpected funeral arrangements, the community helped again. Guckin Funeral Mansion in Harrowgate donated its professional services and helped the family secure vehicles for the procession, a grave marker and a vault.
According to Mike Boyle, Brandon’s mom wanted her son buried near her father in St. Dominic’s Cemetery, but there were no graves available for purchase.
“The following day, somebody showed up at [the family’s] door and donated a plot,” said Mike Boyle.
The person who donated the St. Dominic’s gravesite did not want to be named publicly.
Additional expenses are anticipated, so the family has asked that in lieu of flowers, any contributions in memory of Brandon should be sent to Bethel Franklin Mills at 903 Franklin Mills Circle, Philadelphia, PA 19154, to the attention of Glenda.
A funeral service was planned for Wednesday morning at Bethel, followed by a burial service at St. Dominic’s. ••