Hours after his death, the family and friends of Michael Cardwell Jr. shared their remembrances of the 19-year-old this evening.
With some tears and some laughs, Cardwell's family talked of his love of comic books, superheroes and the music groups Journey and Queen. His ability to hit the high note still resonated in his oldest sister's ears.
"We'd have what we'd call our Queen jam sessions," Marlena Cardwell, Michael's big sister says. "We would blast Queen in the car, and he'd always take Freddie [Mercury]'s part, and hit the high notes...hit 'em perfectly."
Marlena says Michael always seemed to be smiling or giving the "thumbs up" in pictures, and that he kept the mood light if the rest of his sisters, (he has twin younger sisters as well), were being too serious.
He'd travel across Route 57 daily, where he was killed, with what his family says extreme caution and care, something he took to all aspects of his life. A former worker at Mark's Pizzeria, co-workers say he was meticulous, always stressing about cleanliness and detail, a work ethic that was reflected in his friendship.
"He never hesitated to ask, are you ok? Or said do you want to talk about it? He was just a really great friend," Julie Oldie, a high school friend, says.
As an organ donor, his death, while tragic, has already saved the lives of one person who needed a heart, and another who needed a kidney. His entire family says they are also organ donors as well.
"It's very warming," Marlena Caldwell says. "It puts us at ease to know that he's helping so many people and that he's the superhero he wanted to be."
Now, Cardwell's family is reaching out to the community to help fund Michael's final expenses, in the effort to remember him in the best possible way. Bins have been placed in local gas stations, Mark's Pizzeria in Liverpool, Larger Than Life Toys and Comics at Great Northern Mall and Empower Federal Credit Union is also taking donations.