Biking for Kenny Bender: Touching tribute for beloved Findlay man

Published: Oct. 10, 2019 at 9:19 PM EDT
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A touching honor for a beloved Findlay man.

Kenny Bender's life was cut tragically short nearly two weeks ago after a hit and run crash. The driver police say is responsible has been arrested.

Dozens of family, friends, and neighbors all gathering together Thursday to say goodbye in a way special to him - with a bike ride.

Kenny Bender truly touched the hearts of the entire community in Findlay. He rode his bike up to 80 miles every day around town, making friends with everyone along the way.

Thursday, those who knew him rode their bikes to say goodbye.

Everyone in Findlay knew Kenny.

"Part of me is kind of sad we didn't do this or know the family and the community was this impacted by Kenny before he passed. So, I guess that's kind of one the things I wish maybe we need to just stop and really get to know other people a bit more before something like this happens," said his sister Judy Hutton.

His sisters, Judy Hutton and Mary Parsell, humbled and amazed by the outpouring of love for their brother.

"This is all just the community rallying around one of their own. Kenny loved to bike and everybody knew that and so this is just their way of being able to honor him on his last walk," said Parsell.

"We've been amazed at the amount of tears from people that come up to greet him. He's going to be missed and I don't know how I'm gonna go not see him everyday," said Hutton.

This memorial bike ride was Chris Clapper's idea.

"It's a true blessing that this is a ride in his honor," said Clapper.

He's one of Kenny's buddies. They met at the Special Olympics.

"Kenny we're gonna miss you and everybody is gonna miss him," said Clapper.

Denny Jarrett coached Kenny in the Special Olympics and worked with him at Core Services. He helped make the ride possible.

"Just a thought has turned into something this big in three days... by the grace of God. Kenny is looking down on us and this is all for Kenny. We all love Kenny," said Jarrett.

Dozens biking to his visitation to pay their respects in a way special to Kenny.

"That's how he lived his life. He just loved everybody and we're all family," said Parsell. "Even if you weren't really, biologically family, you were still family [to Kenny]," added Hutton.

Everyone can learn something from Kenny's life about the power of giving to others. His memory carrying on forever in Findlay.

"Taking just a few minutes to say 'Hi', to wave a hand, to greet somebody - that's Kenny," said Hutton.

"When it comes down to it, it's about community. It's about supporting each other. It's about being friendly and being nice and being kind to each other, because that's the best thing we can give each other," said Parsell.

His sisters say all are welcome to his funeral Friday morning at 10:30. It's at the Upper Room Church of God in Findlay. (520 W Bigelow Ave.)