GLEN ELLYN – When it comes to things that will be missed about Andrew Mogni, his contagious smile will be one of them.
“How happy it was,” Ben Mogni said of his son's smile.
Ben said his son had a way of spreading his cheerfulness to others. “The best way to be happy is to make other people happy," he remembers Andrew saying.
Andrew, a 20-year-old Glen Ellyn resident and University of Iowa student, died April 5 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He suffered critical injuries during an alleged assault and robbery Jan. 14 while studying abroad in Rome. An investigation by Roman authorities is ongoing.
Andrew majored in finance and information systems while at the University of Iowa. He made the dean's list three consecutive times and was planning to obtain internships with consulting firms, according to his father.
The Mogni family has experienced an outpouring of community support. A bank account was opened to collect donations and a wristband fundraiser was started – both were efforts by family friends to raise money for Andrew's medical expenses.
And a Facebook initiative called for daily 10 a.m. prayers for Andrew.
“I mean, we've been overwhelmed by all the support," Ben said.
Andrew will be remembered in many ways, his dad said. Working at a local muscular dystrophy summer camp illustrated Andrew's humanitarian spirit. And his humorous quirks, like playing the ukulele at 4 a.m. at his fraternity house, will also be missed.
Although the tragedy has weighed heavily on the family, Ben is certain positives can be gained from it, particularly how people have banded together in their faith and prayer.
“He brought a lot of people back together again, I feel he brought a lot of people back to God because of his situation and the calls to prayer.”
Ann Deegan, a long-time family friend, is happy to see Andrew honored for his giving nature. Despite the heartache, she believes God has a plan.
“You always think the best but sometimes the Lord has other plans,” she said. “I guess in this case he did.”