Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is still on hospice and in a coma with no neurological changes.  Nicki is able to stay in the room with him and his children were allowed in to say goodbye.  There is a beautiful picture of them holding hands on Nicki’s well wishes post from a few days ago.

Some wonderful women have planned a drive-in, C19 appropriate vigil tonight for Ben.  Please don’t share this on social media as we need to be cautious with large gatherings right now.  Logistics on getting music to you will follow later today.  Please check back in before attending:

Dear friends of Ben,


As you probably have heard, Ben is now on hospice care. The trauma that took him in an instant reminds us that our time together is fleeting, and precious. Doctors anticipate his last day here with us is imminent. As Christians we know Ben’s soul, his spirit, is present even as his body is failing. That means BEN is with us still. We want Ben and his family to know that amidst all the chaos and uncertainty rocking our world right now, he is on our minds and in our hearts. So let’s make this time count.


Tonight we will come together, separately, for a drive-in candlelight vigil. We wish to lift Ben in prayer, show our collective love and support for Ben and his family, and give thanks for the precious gift Ben is to our community. 


Out of respect for Good Friday services at various times throughout the community, we will begin a little later in the evening, at 9 p.m. Loretta French Park is a special place for the Schneiders, and provides ample space for many friends to unite at a safe distance. 


We encourage you to make posters and/or decorate your vehicles with messages for Ben, Nicki, Leo and Kaya — be it a nod to Ben’s wit and sense of humor, or a simple expression of love. Please remember to bring your own candles, as we can not distribute any due to social distancing restrictions. When you arrive, light your candles and place them on the hood or roof of your car. Please remain inside your vehicles.  


The Schneiders’ pastor, David Hall of the United Methodist Church of Chugiak, will lead us in an opening prayer. Then, from the security of our own vehicles, we will raise our voices together in song. Open your windows a little and join in singing some favorite hymns loud and proud. 

  • Morning Has Broken
  • The Servant’s Song
  • Amazing Grace
  • Now the Green Blade Riseth
  • It Is Well With My Soul
  • How Can I Keep From Singing


We will be live streaming the vigil for Nicki and Ben at St. Elias, as well as their family out of the area. In compliance with social distancing mandates, please remain inside your vehicles for the duration and leave promptly after the closing hymn. 

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