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Love for lost motorcyclist will outlast memorial site

Mon., May 21, 2007

Motorcyclist Branden Benoy was fatally injured almost six years ago when his motorcycle crashed into a pickup at the intersection of Third Street and Locust Avenue (by French’s Cleaners). At the time, Benoy, 24, was giving Krystal Ketterling a ride to work on his 1980 Suzuki. Ketterling was tossed over the pickup and not injured. Benoy took the full impact, suffering severe head trauma. He later died at Kootenai Medical Center, surrounded by loved ones, including his young wife, Amber. Branden’s brother Shane, who was 12 at the time, reportedly grabbed his dying sibling’s hand and said, “I love you. Why did this have to happen? I just want to give you my brain.” Why am I telling you this? In my regular walks around town, I’ve passed the makeshift memorial to Branden dozens of times. I’ve read the brief notes left there by his wife, mother, brother, friends and loved ones. I’ve watched as the sign has faded. On Wednesday evening, I noticed that a fairly new photo of Branden was attached to the wooden memorial. Fake flowers were discarded in the tall grass beneath. Nearby, work crews were filling in what used to be the crawl spaces of two scraped homes for the future site of Realtor John Beutler’s Syringa Center. I wondered how much longer Branden’s memorial would last. On Thursday evening, I had my answer. It was gone. The Syringa Center site was almost ready for construction. I’m sure it’ll be a nice building. However, I’m glad bulldozers can’t scrape away the memory of a young man who was the focus of so much love.


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