Tree planting honors slain Apex teen
Posted February 21, 2009 11:30 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT
Apex, N.C. — Members of a local 4-H club and other volunteers planted 2,350 trees in an Apex park Saturday to honor a slain teen who was an Eagle Scout.
Matthew Silliman, 18, was reported missing Nov. 26, 2008, and Wake County sheriff's deputies found his body six days later in a mobile home at 4221 Olive Branch Lane.
The Robocats 4-H club began the tree-planting project at the Apex Jaycees Park, 451 W. William St., in October. After Silliman's death, they decided to dedicate the project to his memory.
"Members are dedicating the event to Matthew Silliman, who was a friend and a mentor, who loved the outdoors and was active in community service," the Robocats said in a press release.
"He would want us to come together to do something for the community," Betty Silliman said of her son.
Organizers said nearly 100 young people from Boy Scouts, churches and schools had volunteered to help plant red cedars, pines, redbuds, red maples, white oaks and persimmons during the four-hour event Saturday.
Family members said Matthew Silliman's life was rooted in service.
“He would have been the first one to volunteer to come out and help. He loved the outdoors. He loved to do community service,” his father Ben Silliman said.
“We’re going to have tough times when it comes to thinking about him,” volunteer Catherine Pearce said Saturday.
Pearce said the trees will help keep Matthew Silliman’s memory alive.
“Matt was really a great person and he deserves something like this to remember him forever,” Pearce said.
Chick-fil-A donated lunches, and Ads in Action produced a commemorative T-shirt, organizers said.
Silliman earned his Eagle Scout badge with a landscaping project at his church, Peace Presbyterian Church in Cary. He turned a vacant, muddied spot into a beautiful gathering place, his Boy Scout leader Alan O'Neal has said.
Four young adults face murder charges in Silliman's death: Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 17, of 601 Walcott Way, Cary; Ryan Patrick Hare, 18; of 100 Walnut Hill Court, Apex; Aadil Shahid Khan, 17, of 901 Bristol Blue St., Apex; and Drew Logan Shaw, 16, of 107 Woolard Way, Apex.