Monday, September 20, 2004

Outgoing Josh Helfrich, 10, had natural empathy

Cub Scout enjoyed school competitions

By Mary Lu Listermann
Enquirer staff writer

Joshua George Helfrich was a determined 10-year-old who believed in pursuing his desires and dreams with passion. His fortitude and eagerness for life began in Texas where he and his twin sister, Alicia, were born prematurely. He had bright eyes, a quick wit, and loved to make people laugh.

Joshua died Friday at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center after being struck by a car in Erlanger Thursday.

"Josh never met a stranger. He loved people," said his mother, Ann Helfrich. "Our family took a cruise together. As we were boarding a shuttle boat, the people on board shouted, 'Hey, Josh!' when they saw him. We were surprised at the greeting and amazed that he had befriended so many, so quickly."

Josh was a member of Immanuel United Methodist Church in Lakeside Park. He was an acolyte and a volunteer for the Interfaith Hospitality Network, which provides temporary housing for the homeless. Josh made the beds and prepared the rooms for the church's guests. He loved contemporary Christian music and played it often for friends.

"He loved serving others, even at school. When he had the opportunity to be on two academic teams he was told there was only one test for one of the teams. He decided not to take it so another person would have the chance to be on the team," his mother said. "Josh was a big boy with an even bigger heart. He was so tender, empathetic and willing to give to others. He was wise beyond his years."

Josh was a member of Cub Scout Pack No. 236, Den No. 12, with the rank of Webelos II Scout. He enjoyed basketball and played on a local community team. He was a football fan who liked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys. He was on the Quick Recall Team at R.C. Hinsdale Elementary School in Edgewood and participated in the Governors Cup, the Odyssey of the Mind and Student Technology Leadership Program.

Along with his mother, survivors include his father, Mark Helfrich, sister Alicia; maternal grandparents Barbara and Burl Davis; and paternal grandparents Stewart and Linda Helfrich.

Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. today at Linnemann Funeral Home in Erlanger.

Memorial service will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Immanuel United Methodist Church.

The family donated his organs through the transplant program at Children's Hospital.

Memorials can be made to the Josh Helfrich Memorial Fund through any Fifth Third Bank.

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Outgoing Josh Helfrich, 10, had natural empathy