This came in with love from Ben's mom, Meg, and I'm posting it at her request:
Several years ago Ben came for a visit without his family; it was rare to have him alone. We hiked to the top of More's Mountain outside of Boise. I told him I wanted a photo of him, and he gave me a sweet smile - just for me, I' m sure!
Dear Family of Ben we are keeping you close in our hearts and prayers during this challenging transition. We are for you and with you. Jesus is our Living Hope today, tomorrow and in our eternal life. I am sure that your and our Ben is soaring high above. We love you.
My heartfelt thanks to the creative and resourceful people who organized the memorable vigil for Ben last Friday night. I am grateful for the Zoom platform, so friends and family, near and far, could participate in the gathering. I lit candles from my Idaho living room and treasured the moments--the pastor's opening remarks, the meaningful music and lyrics, and the decorated cars with balloons, bicycles, and hand-written signs honoring Ben. You deeply touched the lives and hearts of many people, Ben. You made the world a better place.
I grew up with Ben in elementary school. He and I always ended up in the middle back for class photos as we were always the tallest in class. Every. Year. He was always quiet, but when he spoke everyone listened, because he never wasted his words. He was liked and respected by all of us, getting along with everyone. In elementary school, you can imagine how big a deal that was. One memory has always stuck with me about Ben from 8th grade. Mrs. Middleton had us writing haikus and this day she chose to read a few of them in front of the class and we had to guess who wrote each one. Ben's stuck out, and still does to this day, because he described himself as a diamond in the rough. That made me really think and pause, because he knew who he was at that age: he was confident, saw his value and was proud of it. I was in awe and hoped to grow into someone like that. Nicki and I met in high school and became very close friends. She taught me so much, but especially how to be confident in who I am, don't be afraid to be different. Wish I was closer to help you all right now! My thoughts and prayers are for all of you. It has been many years since they were in my life, but both Ben and Nicki left an impact. I cannot imagine what you all are going through there. Praying for comfort for you all during this time.
I met Ben on a Taiga Trekkers hike at the Eagle River Nature Center back in 2010. I had already stalked him through his blog about living in a yurt. So cool to live in a yurt. He spoke with me about the ins and outs of yurt living. Ben invited me and another parent for some cross country skiing while pulling our munchkins. He taught me the trails in the Eagle River and Chugiak area. I tried to bike while pulling the chariot with Ben and the other parent, but I failed miserably. Ha! I ended up buying an orca whale puzzle that Ben made for my son’s 1st birthday and to remember our time in Alaska. We still have that puzzle and I tell my kids about Ben and the lessons I learned from him every time we work it. The world definitely lost a great human being. He was such an inspiring person that really let his love for being active and in the outdoors show. I am so honored that I knew him, even for a short while. Sending my condolences to all of Ben’s family during this very hard time.
I only met Ben a few of times during my daughter's Jr. Nordic classes. I liked Ben from the start. He was energetic, motivating and made the group ski sessions very fun. Ben's passing is a terrible loss for our community. But he showed us what it means to be an energetic and enthusiastic leader, and his example can live on through all of those who him. Farewell Ben. It was a privilege to have known you.
We have followed Ben's journey in our small church community here in Boerne TX. Bruce & Carol Glover have asked for prayers for you all over these last few months We have prayed individually & corporately. Bruce led our online Easter sunday service today & did a wonderful job---as he shared the sadness of Ben's passing & the joy if the resurrection. Please know that your extended family here in Texas will continue to lift up your family to God's throne of grace. And we are grateful for Ben's well lived life. God bless you all. In Him, Kay Barry