This is how I picture Ben, even though he grew into such a handsome and strong, although incredibly ticklish, man. He’s still that little boy that I spent hours playing catch with in the backyard. Benny and I had countless hours of fun growing up. After a certain point, I realized that I couldn’t catch for him anymore because a broken hand was surely in my future. As the years went on, he turned into a great, confident, and ever-humble athlete and man.
Ben loved sports and the outdoors and excelled at most things he tried. He decided one day that he would train for the Hartford marathon. It was the day of my sister Becky’s baby shower and Benny said he would be there after he went for a run. I saw him hours later, after the shower, and said ‘Benny – what happened to you?’ He responded, ‘I ran 26 miles to see if I could run the marathon. It was kind of a pain in the ass so I probably won’t run it.’ To which I responded, ‘First of all you just ran a marathon, and secondly, when you train to run a marathon you’re not supposed to go out and run 26 miles right off the bat.’ But, that was the type of person he was. He was up for anything and when he set his mind to it, he could do anything.
On another day Benny woke up and decided, although he had never set foot on an airplane, that he would go skydiving. The experience clearly was amazing. In the video above you see Benny as he was; a strong, slightly shy, yet confident man. And, of course, a man of few words. I can appreciate those who speak little, because when Benny did speak, as seldom as it was, you listened. When Ben landed after the skydive, and was asked if he liked it, he said ‘yup,’ shook everyone’s hand, smiled his great big charming smile, and walked away.
Unfortunately, Ben’s warm heart didn’t triumph in the end and he ultimately took his own life in the Summer of 2013. I can understand, without judgment, his struggle and suicide, but do not miss him any less. It is clear to me that at that one moment, his pain was greater than the resources that he had to cope. Benny’s ultimate action will never define him, but I wholeheartedly believe that it should be discussed and not hidden.
His adventurous and loving spirit will always live on. He was a good brother, son, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend. But more importantly, a good person. Ben will forever be in our hearts, we will always love him, and we wish him peace. The Benny Fund endeavors to work each day to do good in his name.