Thoughts & Well Wishes

Val Jokela | Apr 12, 2020
Ben was such a spectacular, compassionate, competent and accomplished person on so many levels. I feel so privileged to have gotten to know him mostly through dog mushing. The community is going to miss his steady guiding hand on so many fronts. My heart aches and breaks for his family and friends. I send my love and support to his family... thinking about you Nicky, Leo and Kaya. With love, Val
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megmark schneider | Apr 12, 2020
This Easter day we are grieving for our son Benjamin, but we are comforted by knowing he is whole again.  We want to imagine him walking through the Psalmist's "green meadows", ready to cast his line into those "still waters".  And when he looks into the face of his Companion, he will see the faces of all who love him.

Words are inadequate to express our gratitude to his community of friends who fed and clothed us, prayed for Ben and us, embraced us with love, and made us a part of his Alaska family.  We can no longer hold Ben in our arms, but through our shared love of him, we think of you as our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.  God bless all of you,  Mark and Meg Schneider
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Amber Schneider | Apr 12, 2020

When I think of Ben, things like “genuine” and “vibrant” and “easy to talk to” come to mind. He is loved and will not be forgotten. 

Photo: April 15, 2018 in Ames, IA (with grandparents, Uncle Jim, Aunt Martha, and myself, his cousin)

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Roberto Chieppa | Apr 12, 2020

Dear Alaskan part of my family,

Yes I know; Alaska and Italy are so far away but Ben, Niki, Leo and Kaya are part of our family since an email which arrived 5 years ago, telling us that Federico would spend a year in Alaska with you.

The worries about our son going to such a faraway place quickly vanished with the first Skype call we had. That moment has been the spark of a relationship that has grown over time; during the wonderful year that Federico spent with you, in which - as he wrote – from a boy he became a man; during the period in which you hosted us for the Christmas holidays when we lived with you as part of your wonderful family; and during your trip to Italy and on hikes we made on the our mountains, the Dolomites.

From the news of the accident, we prayed for Ben and all of you. Now we know that up there in the skies there is someone who will look at us with his inexhaustible and unmistakable smile and making a few jokes with his irony.

Ben is too free a spirit to remain silent and motionless in a hospital bed and has flown away, as he was in his character, as he would have liked.

Now is the time for tears, but also to thank for being lucky enough to meet Ben and all of you.

Niki you must be proud of this and you are as strong to face this moment, as Ben would have liked; Leo and Kaya will have Ben as an example to follow even if he can’t be as close as he was.

Niki, Leo and Kaya, we want you to know that in Italy, even if we are a little far away, there are the Italian's uncles of your family and that when you are part of the same family there is no distance that can stop love.

Leo and Kaya, we are waiting for you to run on the mountains of the Dolomites that have thrilled Ben and Niki so much.

Niki, know that we will always be there for all of you.


Roberto and Stefania with Valentina (Federico's family)

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Martha and Jim Fifield | Apr 12, 2020
Ben was the best of the best. What a privilege to watch him grow from a sweet, thoughtful boy to an extraordinary man, husband and father. How blessed we have been to have him in our family.
(Photo of Ben and Leo with Grandpa Leo, Grandma Betty and cousins, Oregon 2009)
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Carolyn Townsend | Apr 11, 2020
Today we lost a great friend.   Ben wasn't just a friend but a person that encouraged us in bettering ourselves.   Ben is the one that got our family into rafting.   He took us on our first (of many) family rafting trip.   Ben got Curtis hooked on backcountry skiing.  Now every time we BC ski or raft we can look back and think of Ben and becasue of him we are doing those activities. 

We have such great memories with our monthly Friday night dinners, his unique delicious salads, card games, hiking, Frisbee, skiing, rafting, biking, building, projects, to and from school walks, stories, jokes, smiles and laughter.   Ben is a gem.   We are so lucky to have moved into the neighborhood and have meet this great friend.  Our lives have been blessed, changed and touched by him.    We are so heart broken to have him gone but so grateful for the huge impact he has made in our lives!  As well so many memories we were able to create and hope to continue to create with Kaya, Leo and Nicki.   We love you and continue to have the Pressman-Schneider family in our thoughts and prayers. 
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Lindsey (Fifield) Jungman | Apr 11, 2020
Sending all our love to you, Nicki, Leo, and Kaya--you've been in our hearts today and these past several weeks.

Growing up, Ben was always my "cool older cousin," and I have so many great memories of his visits to Iowa, of family reunions in Glacier and Oregon, and of your beautiful winter wedding, Nicki. Here is a photo I dug up from Brian's and my road trip honeymoon back in 2007. You and Ben let us crash with you in Seattle for a night, and I remember thinking Leo was the legit cutest baby I had ever seen (this was before Kaya gave him a run for his money, obviously). Clearly I remembered correctly--look at that little guy! 

Thank you to the organizers of last night's vigil. I tuned in at midnight from my living room in Duluth, MN, and it was so moving to see so many people who love Ben and his family. Such an incredible person. <3
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Curtis Townsend | Apr 11, 2020
We were able to attend the vigil last night in Ben's honor. It was such a beautiful pleasant night. Not too cold even with the windows rolled down so we could hear Dave's prayer and songs. We decorated our car with a pair of skis and a bicycle. These are memories we share with Ben and his family. We sure wish we could have exited our car to say hi to all the other wonderful people gathered together. It sure is a bummer that this health situation is keeping us apart during this time when we really feel like being with each other. Thanks to those who organized this vigil so we could celebrate Ben and his family.
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