Tabor College to honor students who died in car accident

Tabor College will hold a community memorial service for Johnethon Aviles and Christopher Castillo at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 9 in the Richert Auditorium in the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts. The public is invited to attend the service, honoring the lives of both young men after a tragic car accident on Feb. 27.

The service will be live-streamed for those unable to attend. Please visit Tabor Webcast on YouTube for information.

“As we continue to grieve the devastating loss of Johnethon and Christopher, it’s important that we come together as a campus and remember the impact they had on the greater Tabor community,” President David Janzen said. “They were such valued members of our campus and we look forward to honoring them on Wednesday.”

Memorial displays have been made for Aviles and Castillo on campus, allowing Tabor students, faculty and staff to pray, mourn and reflect in the wake of the accident.

Aviles and Castillo were both members of the Tabor football team. They arrived on campus in August 2020, finding a home both on and off the field. Castillo, a criminal justice major, was set to graduate in May 2022, while Aviles was studying agri-business in preparation of finishing in May 2023.

Tabor has begun preparations to award posthumous degrees at Commencement later this spring.

“Both of these guys meant so much to our team,” Head Football Coach Mike Gardner said. “They are two of the most unselfish players I’ve ever had. They played their roles very, very well. I could ask either one of them to do anything on any week and they were more than happy to do that. They are going to be greatly missed.”

Jonathan Medina, member of the team in each of the last two seasons and the third passenger in the vehicle, underwent spinal cord surgery the evening of the accident and will soon relocate to a rehabilitation hospital.

“It was a promising prognosis with mobility in his arms and some feeling in his legs, but he has a long road ahead of him,” Janzen said. “He invites our prayers and has welcomed how the Tabor College community has reached out to him and shown love and compassion.”

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