By Kristen Chandler
As a parent of three kids with multiple allergies, I know firsthand that it is difficult to keep up with them all sometimes. I also know that other people, especially those who do not have children with food allergies, have an even harder time remembering who is allergic to what.
Imagine someone who came in contact with hundreds of children every day, who not only remembered each child’s name, but who was allergic to what food as well. This person was a rare food allergy hero.
His name was Philando Castile.
As you may have heard, Philando Castile, known as Phil to his friends, was tragically shot and killed during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota on Wednesday evening. Castile worked at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul, MN as the cafeteria supervisor.
According to co-workers, friends and family, Castile was a role model for the children of that area, especially those he knew at the school. One parent said that he was always happy to see Castile, and that the cafeteria he supervised was a happy place. He also noted that Castile was an important part of the community. A colleague remembered him as funny, warm, respectful, kind and quiet, and loved by the children at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School. Another co-worker, Joan Edmand, said that Castile remembered each child’s name and whether or not they had a food allergy. Edmand said that he made a difference at the school, and he mattered.
Philando Castile was an exceptional young man, whose life was taken way too soon. The MKFA family would like to honor him today for the impact he made on children’s lives and for being a true food allergy hero. We also wish to extend our condolences and thoughts to his friends and family during this difficult time.