A prayer service to honor Briggs and Logan Connolly Oct. 30 at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms fills the church to capacity, so many people gather outside to pray and support the family.

A prayer service to honor Briggs and Logan Connolly Oct. 30 at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms fills the church to capacity, so many people gather outside to pray and support the family.

Photo by Maria Allard


Community remembers, mourns Connolly brothers

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 31, 2019

 In honor of #SticksOutForLoganAndBriggs, 10-year-old Avery Brooks, who played on the same hockey team as Logan Connolly, positioned two hockey sticks on his front porch so that they pointed to heaven.

In honor of #SticksOutForLoganAndBriggs, 10-year-old Avery Brooks, who played on the same hockey team as Logan Connolly, positioned two hockey sticks on his front porch so that they pointed to heaven.

Photo provided by Avery Brooks

 The Grosse Pointe community is remembering brothers Briggs, left, and Logan Connolly, ages 11 and 9, who died Oct. 28 in a house fire in Grosse Pointe City.

The Grosse Pointe community is remembering brothers Briggs, left, and Logan Connolly, ages 11 and 9, who died Oct. 28 in a house fire in Grosse Pointe City.

Photo provided by Verheyden Funeral Home

FARMS —  As the hashtag #SticksOutForLoganAndBriggs circulates social media, local residents are displaying hockey sticks on front porches to remember the two Richard Elementary School students who died in a house fire Oct. 28.

Brothers Briggs, 11, and Logan Connolly, 9, were killed Monday morning while home alone before school, which had a late start that day, in the 700 block of Fisher Road in Grosse Pointe City. 

Local resident Avery Brooks, 10, who played on the same hockey team as Logan, placed two hockey sticks on his front porch upside down so they pointed to heaven. Brooks included a note to the Connolly brothers that read, “RIP Logan and Briggs. They were stuck in there rooms in a big fire. They were really nice.” 

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. The stunned and saddened community has come together to support the young boys’ parents, Walter and Azucena Connolly, by donating clothing, food and other necessities since they also lost their home. According to various media reports, Walter had left for work already Monday morning and Azucena was running an errand when the blaze broke out. It has been reported that the brothers called their mom when the fire started and she rushed home, but the house was engulfed. 

To help the family grieve, a prayer service open to the public was held Oct. 30 at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms. With heavy hearts, people filled the church. The service was set to begin at 6 p.m., but the church was at full capacity by 5:45 p.m. and many people who came to pray alongside the family were unable to get inside.

So, outside the church, they huddled under umbrellas and gathered in groups as rain fell during the evening. Many mourners wore hockey jerseys to honor the Connolly boys, who played hockey for the St. Clair Shores Bulldogs. A few even carried hockey sticks in their memory.

Jennifer Stanczak and her son, Emerson, 8, stood outside in the rain to pay their respects. Emerson, who wore his team’s red and white jersey, plays for the Bulldogs but in a different age bracket. He said that he felt sad when he learned of the fire. 

“We just came out to support the family. The hockey community is a very strong community,” Jennifer Stanczak said. “As a mother with three children, this is unthinkable. What those kids went through was way worse than I could imagine.”

Members of the Royal Oak Hockey Club 2006 Eagles team joined those gathered outside the church, 2006 Eagles parents Lori and Andy Izydorek among them.

“All the boys and parents just want to come out and support the family,” Lori Izydorek said. “They all wanted to come and support the two (Connolly) boys. The hockey family is very supportive.”

Stephen Poloni, who serves as the director of Public Safety for both Grosse Pointe City and Grosse Pointe Park, was among those who waited outside the church as the prayer service continued.

“You can see how our community cares. There are five different Grosse Pointes, but in a time of tragedy, we become one,” Poloni said. “There are still people coming by in droves to support the family and pray for them. This is overwhelming, the amount of people that have come tonight.”

While members of the community have been doing all they can to show their love for the Connolly family, they haven’t forgotten about the first responders and public safety officers who were on the scene during and after the fire.

“It was traumatic for our officers to lose these children in a fire,” Poloni said. “This community has been so supportive of law enforcement, (offering) cookies, food and prayers. We are very appreciative of their support.”

David Raymond Cracchiolo, of Grosse Pointe Farms, said he knew Walter Connolly while growing up.

“Wonderful man,” he said. “I feel it’s imperative the community comes together during this time of loss to show their solidarity. It’s an overwhelming sense of loss. Grosse Pointe tends to have faith. This community seeks God, as this community knows their own subjective personal need for the eternal.”

Funeral visitation for the brothers will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Grosse Pointe Academy Tracy Fieldhouse, 171 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Farms. A service will be held on the same day at 3 p.m. inside the fieldhouse. 

Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran contributed to this report.