Rick Costner, Sr. honors the life of his 18 year old son and co-worker, Ricky Costner Jr., after he was murdered in front of him at work by creating and raising funds for the Ricky Costner Jr. College Scholarship Fund
I have had the pleasure of attending a benefit at the Buffalo, NY home of Rick Costner, Sr., to raise money for the Ricky Costner Jr. College Scholarship Fund for a number of years now.
I met Rick Costner, Sr., sometime near the end of January, 2010. I never had the pleasure of meeting Ricky Costner, Jr. because he was murdered at work on January 16, 2010 by a deranged coworker in front of his father who was also shot twice.
Rick Costner, Sr. was the manager of Merge Restaurant in Buffalo, NY, and his only son, Ricky, Jr., had recently started working with him as a sous chef. Ricky, Jr., just 18 years old at the time and full of life, was an aspiring chef planning on attending Erie Community College’s Culinary Arts Program. He liked to flirt and play video games and had dreams of opening his own restaurant one day. See “Teen’s tragic death leads to triumph for other students: Teen’s slaying is impetus for scholarship program”, Buffalo News, By Jay Rey, News Staff Reporter on March 10, 2013, https://getmad.today/wp-contentwww.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130310/CITYANDREGION/130319954/1010.
January 16, 2010 started like many others, until Ernesto Arechavaleta-Taureaux, at the time a 51 year old dishwasher at the restaurant, arrived at work. Shortly after getting to the restaurant Arechavaleta-Taureaux opened fire with a 9 mm hand gun, shot Ricky, Jr. once, and Rick, Sr. twice. Ricky, Jr. collapsed. While wounded and bleeding from two gunshot wounds to the chest, Rick, Sr. watched his only son as he lay dying right before his eyes.
Two NY compensation claims arose out of this tragedy for the Costner family: Rick Costner, Sr.’s claim and the claim for the estate of Ricky, Jr. If the purpose of workers’ compensation is to award, “that sum of money which will put the party who has been injured in the same position as he would have been if he had not sustained the wrong for which he is now getting his compensation…” that obviously was not possible in this case. See Livingstone v. Rawyards Coal Co., (1880), 5 App.Cas. 25, 39.
The criminal justice system has proven equally ineffectual as Ernesto Arechavaleta-Taureaux was found mentally ill and not responsible for these heinous acts.
Instead of wallowing in their grief and railing at the systems’ impotency to redress these wrongs, Rick, Sr. and his wife Catalina, their children, grandson Ricky Costner, III, family, friends and neighbors, transcend their sorrow and celebrate and honor Ricky, Jr.’s life by raising money for students to pursue the dream that Ricky, Jr. was denied: pursuit of a degree at Erie Community College’s Culinary Art’s Program. I have had the privilege of attending the yearly benefit for this scholarship at the Costner’s home and am always filled with gratitude as I contemplate the event.
I am grateful for the obvious. My 21 year old son has worked with me in my office. He may want to finish his college career someday. He likes to flirt with girls and play video games. He has dreams about becoming an electronic music producer. I am grateful that no psychotic mad man has forcibly dispossessed my son of his dreams and taken part of my heart with him.
I am also grateful in a less selfish way. I am humbled by the Costners’ response to their loss in choosing to help other students achieve what their son was denied. I am filled with gratitude at having a peripheral vantage point to observe the love and perseverance of a remarkable family. The scholarships are a testament to a young man who inspires not only those who knew him before January 16, 2010, but also many who have seen what a remarkable young man he was through the selfless efforts of his family and friends.
If you too feel some gratitude about the blessings in your life, and would like to express it through a donation to the Ricky Costner Jr. College Scholarship Fund, please click on the link below: