Family, friends remember Ottawa man killed while helping crash victim
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family Surendran Thambirajah of Ottawa, who was killed while helping a crash victim over the weekend.
OTTAWA -- An Ottawa father of five is being remembered as a kind and giving man after he was killed while helping a crash victim over the weekend.
On Friday, 52-year-old Surendran Thambirajah stopped at the scene of a crash on Highway 15, north of Portland, where a vehicle hit a hydro pole. He died after being struck by a downed hydro wire when another vehicle drove over it.
His five children, Nivetha, Eelini, Eelana, Samarventhan and Eelan want people to know their father was not only a proud and loving parent and husband, he also had a warm heart and giving spirit.
“He would always be there for me,” says his youngest son, eight-year-old Eelan Surendran. “My dad was the nicest person to me and whenever I needed help with my homework he always found new ways and taught me how to use them.”
Teaching was important to Surendran. He moved to Canada in 1986, fleeing the war in Sri Lanka. After settling in Ottawa, he quickly became a community leader for other Tamil immigrants and refugees.
His 20-year-old daughter Eelini says he was always making sure that any problems people had, he wanted them to know that he was there to help.
“He was my best friend, he was the first person I talked to about any problems I had,” says eldest daughter, Nivetha. “He was always taking the initiative of making sure everyone got a proper education, knew that they had value.”
He was a founding member of a Tamil school in Ottawa and created the Tamil student association at Carleton University. His long-time friend, Anto Gnanapragasam, who moved from Sri Lanka in 1995 to attend university, remembers when he first met the community ambassador.
“He spoke to me like we had been friends for a very long time but that was the first time I was meeting him,” Gnanapragasam says. They became close friends, and Gnanapragasm says he was taught to remember his roots and embrace the spirit of Canada, to give back to everyone you can.
“He truly embodies the Canadian spirit ... After coming to Canada you realize at how fortunate we are and we also want to bring that fortune to everyone else.”
A spirit and kindness that his daughter Eelana takes to heart. “He taught me everything whether it’s cooking or driving, all my values to be respectful to everybody.”
For his 14 year old son, he says his father was like his best friend and what he loved most was how kind and gentle he was, how he respected everyone.
A GoFundMe page has been setup to help support Thambirajah's wife and children, a community leader who’s Tamil roots, he never forgot.