‘Moe’ Halabi, 20, remembers his humor and love of cars

GUILFORD — Bronze daisies, sunflowers, carnations, pink and yellow roses covered two picnic tables outside the Mobil gas station at 500 Boston Post Road on Wednesday to pay tribute to Mohammad Kareem Halabi, 20 years old, died in a motorcycle accident.

Halabi was killed Sept. 19 when he lost control of the Kawasaki Ninja 650 motorcycle he was riding and crashed into a metal guardrail on the Route 34 connector to Interstate 95 north in New Haven, according to state police.

The floral tribute that grew throughout the day was located at the gas station owned by Halabi’s parents, Sawsan and Mohammad Halabi.

Young Halabi, known as Moe, often worked at the station after school, according to friends.

Down the street at Flowers on the Green, owner Christie Baker has set up a small glass table outside the shop with stacks of blue cards and a container of pens. It was surrounded by buckets of free flowers to take away for those who wanted to pay their respects.

It was a good location, Baker said, so “kids could come in and have their privacy writing their cards, then they’d drive down the street and put them at the gas station.”

Baker said young people, as well as adults, come to his shop.

“It’s just beautiful,” she said.

“I know the power of flowers,” Baker said. “I’m not a parent, I don’t have kids, I have a dog, so I don’t know pain, but I can help with flowers because flowers help people feel better. “

At the temporary memorial, among the flowers was a piece of plywood, inscribed with the victim’s nickname “Moe”, written inside a drawn heart and adorned with photos of Halabi with her friends.

Personal memorabilia, including two Hot Wheels — a Scorcher and a Super Stinger — and a 5-gallon barrel of VP Racing Fuels were a nod to Halabi’s love of racing cars, friends said.

Handwritten notes were attached to many bouquets and plants.

“So sorry for the loss of your lovely boy! May you find healing and inner peace. Always in our hearts! Guilford Friend,” one note read.

Another read “The best friend a person could ask for. So genuine and generous. We love you so much Moe thank you for all the memories. Our group of friends will never be the same without you. Love, Chris, Nate and Caroline. Hope you drive race cars up there.

Chris Golino, one of Halabi’s best friends, opened up about their friendship in a text.

“He meant a lot to me and so much that no words can describe him as a person,” Golino wrote.

“He would take off his shirt for anyone, no matter who it was, but he did it to help,” he said.

Another of his best friends, who rather called himself Halabi’s brother, Ali Sabea, echoed these sentiments in a text.

“He was selfless, extremely selfless,” he wrote. “A pure heart and always sought the best in people, no matter who they were.”

A 2020 graduate of Guilford High School, Halabi was a highly respected member of the school community. A community that is “devastated by this loss”, said Julia Chaffe, director.

“He was a beloved member of our wrestling team and just a wonderful kid to have in our school,” she said.

“He just had this gift of a sense of humor that stands out, that you don’t forget,” she said. “We’re just heartbroken about it and it’s always awful when someone dies so young. You never get used to it and you never get over it, once something like this happens.

Chaffe said school counselors and social workers were available “to support students who needed any kind of emotional support, as well as staff and faculty.”

Daniela Balzano, who knew Halabi from her children, organized the flower memorial with Baker.

“I think the important thing today was that the kids had an outlet for their sadness and their emotions,” she said.

“It looks like they wrote some very nice words and left some very special items at the memorial,” she said. “I’m so glad they took the opportunity to create a connection.”

Balzano and Baker said they hope the family finds some comfort in the tribute.

“We don’t know pain,” Baker said. “We don’t know what they are going through. So if that takes the pain away a bit, that’s all we can do.

Balzano said the tribute is “really to let the family know that we are all here for them.”

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