Kansas River Statue Honors Michael Zapletal

By: Brian Dorman Email
By: Brian Dorman Email

A young boy who drowned in the Kansas River last year was honored with a memorial at his school Thursday morning.

Michael Zapletal was just 9-years-old when he was swept away while on an outing with other children August 15th 2007.

It's been 10 months since that day that changed the lives for the Zapletal family. Michael is on their minds everyday and now a memorial statue will be a reminder of his love.

The statue stands tall St. John Vianney's near Maple Hill, Kansas, a place that meant so much to Michael.

"Being at the school is a great privilege," Michael’s father, John Zapletal who teaches at St. John Vianney’s said.

This year Michael doesn't walk the hallways at St. John Vianney’s School but he certainly hasn't been forgotten.

"It's interesting the kids in class want to talk about Michael, they have probably accepted it better than I have, I've probably learned more from these kids then they have learned from me. I can't say enough for the school," said Zapletal.

Now the school has the statue meant to honor Michael forever. The statue is meant to not only while unite the school but also the small community of Maple Hill.

“With the support of this community it has made it a bit easier. We’re thankful to live in this place, we have a lot of people who pray for us."

Prayer and dedication led family and friends from the school to the cemetery where Michael's headstone was blessed, a final resting place they hope where one day Michael can rest in peace.

"I kept telling people I’m not going to look in the river anymore, but I wont be able to. I’m going to keep looking for him till we can find him. I’d appreciate if people could still look for Michael at the river."

For the Zapletal's, they continue to have faith and support from family and friends and now they pray this prayer, "We pray that we can become someday like Michael is today," John Zapletal said.

These memorial dedications come in Michael's birthday month. He would be turning 10-years-old on May 19th.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
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