Harmony brothers Liam Bintrim-Hall, 3, and Declan McCullough, almost 1, loved to run and play in the Zelienople Community Park. In the summer months, they also could often be found, along with their siblings, splashing around in the town’s pool.
“They both loved the water,” said the boys’ mother, Elisabeth McCullough.
“They’d spend three hours in the bathtub if you let them,” added Jason McCullough, Elisabeth’s husband.
In January, both boys were killed in a car accident after the SUV they were riding in with their mother spun out of control on icy Lower Harmony Road in Connoquenessing Township and flipped over before striking a tree. Elisabeth McCullough survived the accident with minor injuries
The tragedy spurred an outpouring of support from the community and surrounding areas.
Jason McCullough said people he had never met before sent cards, offered their condolences and asked for ways they could help the family. Donations also flowed in to the Make-A-Wish foundation and Animal Friends in memory of the boys.
Elisabeth noted Liam adored his black cat, named Monday, he had recently adopted from the shelter.
The nonprofit Friends of the Zelienople-Harmony Park also started up a collection on behalf of the brothers to buy two leaves on the “Tree of Life” located in the baby pool area of Zelienople’s community pool.
Alicia Flood, a board member of the organization, said donations quickly started rolling in.
The funds, plus money raised from a benefit dinner held honor of the boys at the former Jackson Fish Company, was enough that the nonprofit decided to purchase two child-size memorial benches in honor of the boys to be placed in the Zelienople park.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Flood said of the donations. “Everyone just had a broken heart about the situation. Everyone felt they had to do something.”
That includes the owner of Butler-based Keystone Ridge Designs, the company that furnished the benches.
Flood said once the owners learned the benches were for the young brothers, they offered to provide the second bench free of cost.
Flood said the nonprofit now plans to use the extra money to purchase a table to accompany the benches.
Flood said the benches, blue for Liam, his favorite color, and green for Declan, to honor his Irish heritage, already are a popular addition to the park, especially with kids who love to eat their snacks there.
“It’s a nice memorial for them because they loved to come down here and play,” Elisabeth McCullough said.
In the months since the accident, Jason McCullough said the family has its good days and its bad.
The boys had three old siblings—Lydia, 13, Gavin, 12 and MacKenzie, 10—and Elisabeth said they all are coping with the loss with help from the “phenomenal” therapists they began seeing after the accident.“Everyone has been amazingly kind and supportive,” Jason McCullough said.