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Funeral Service Held For Zoo Tragedy Victim

MOUNT LEBANON (KDKA) – There was an outpouring of support for a local family who buried their 2-year-old son after an unfortunate accident at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium last weekend.

The funeral service for little Maddox Derkosh was held at St. Bernard Church in Mount Lebanon around 10 a.m. Friday.

Jason and Elizabeth Derkosh are getting lots of love and support from the community as they mourn the loss of their 2-year-old son, Maddox.

During the Homily, Fr. David Bonnar talked about the impact of Maddox's death: "I have never experienced such an overwhelming powerful support that surpasses this faith community."

Tom Kemper came to the funeral to support the family.

"I just feel that this is going to be a sad cross they're going to be carrying for a long time," he said. "It just takes a long time to get over grief, especially when you lose a child."

The 2-year-old was killed Sunday when he fell into the African Painted Dogs exhibit at the zoo and was mauled by the animals. Fr. Bonnar said Maddox was a happy, fun child who could light up a room.

Fr. Bonnar said: "We need to be grateful to God for the gift of his life. Jason's parents said to me yesterday how blessed they felt to have spent so much time with Maddox this past year."

Maddox's parents say he loved trucks. They asked the community to donate toy trucks instead of giving flowers. Fr. Bonnar praised the couple for thinking of others during a time of great loss.

He said: "Even in your unspeakable suffering and pain, you are consciously thinking of other little ones by asking for toy trucks."

Even before the service, people were still donating toy trucks. In fact, Fr. Bonnar said the church resembled a satellite store for Toys 'R Us.

So far, more than 2,000 toy trucks have been donated.

"It's touching that so many in the Pittsburgh community are coming together and seeking to embrace the Derkosh family by fundraising and donating toy trucks," Fr. Bonner said.

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