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Bench placed at school as reminder of Elder

Bench placed at school as reminder of Elder
Bench placed at school as reminder of Elder
Lanesville community members help place the Thomas Elder memorial bench near the front doors of Lanesville Junior-Senior High School. Photo by Kaitlyn Clay
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The Lanesville community mourned the loss of one of their own last November when 18-year-old Thomas Elder died in a car crash. The cross-country runner and basketball player was honored last week with a memorial bench installed by the front doors of Lanesville Junior-Senior High School.

The bright purple bench, which reads “Thomas Andrew Elder” in the center, has a basketball and running shoes on the design as well.

During the decision of where the bench would be placed, friends and family of Thomas tested how close to put the bench to the wall by mimicking how teenagers love to throw their head back in laughter, and they didn’t want them to be too close to the wall.

“Thomas loved to live life to the fullest and was always so happy and joyful and full of laughter,” Mark Elder, Thomas’ dad, said. “Students will be able to come and remember him by sitting here and laugh and enjoy time with each other the way Thomas would love to.”

Mark was in awe that the Lanesville community offered to do this for him. He said he even took off work for the evening so he wouldn’t feel pressured to hurry back to the normality of his usual schedule.

“We are very honored that the whole community felt that Thomas made such an impression that they would do this for him,” Mark said. “Our family is honored. We have been waiting for this day since they told us they were getting a bench made. Not just Lanesville, but all over North Harrison and Corydon, people knew him.”

The decision to install the bench was brought to the Lanesville Community School Corp. board in March and, after viewing the bench in person, it was a unanimous decision to place it by the front doors of the school.

“I think this bench is something that will bring closure to some kids here, and I want to give a huge thanks to the Lanesville community,” Mark said.