Norwin High School student dies
By Amanda Dolasinski
Published: Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 3:48 p.m.
Constructing a 100-foot long split rail fence along a gritty trail was Mike Sweeney's vision to keep walkers a safe distance from a cliff in a North Huntingdon park.
The project would weave together his love for being outdoors while finally earning him the prestigious Eagle Scout rank, which he had been working toward since first grade.
Although Sweeney will never chop the wood or hammer the nails, the fence will be assembled, rail by rail, in his honor.
Michael T. Sweeney Jr., of North Huntingdon, died Sunday. He was 17.
“We will finish this project for him,” Don Brill, an assistant Scout Leader said, choking up. “We want the kid to get his Eagle Scout posthumously. We'll put a brass plaque on it. He is our Eagle.”
Sweeney became ill Sunday afternoon and was transported to Westmoreland Hospital. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at 2:40 p.m.
Because of his symptoms, an emergency room doctor mentioned the possibility of meningitis. Tests proved negative for the contagious disease, Kenneth Bacha, Westmoreland County coroner, said.
A cause and manner are still being determined, but Bacha said the death appears to be natural.
Sweeney enjoyed spending time camping with the Boy Scouts and hunting with his father, Brill said. Last year, Sweeney bagged a 5-point deer in Armstrong County.
“It was about being one with nature and having a love of the land and that was Mike,” Brill said.
A letter released to parents in the Norwin School District Monday announced Sweeney's death. Counselors and psychologists were available to talk to students, according to the letter.
Administrators said Sweeney's parents requested students honor their son by performing a random act of kindness, according to the letter.
As a senior at Norwin High School, Sweeney was a member of the boy's track team, Norwin Robotics Club and parishioner of St. Agnes Church.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Villa-style subdivision set to be third in North Huntingdon
- North Huntingdon couple turns tragedy into holiday joy for children
- New leadership to continue Lamp fundraising in Irwin
- North Irwin write-in candidates to fill seats
- North Irwin budget to include police cost increase
- Norwin STEM Innovation Center begins to take shape
- North Irwin approves budget with tax increase
- Irwin police to cover North Irwin