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In honour of the Laurel woman, her family and friends wish to construct softball fields



Laurel, Montana – The people of Laurel gathered together to remember Andrea Benson, one of their own who passed away unexpectedly last summer.

Benson’s spouse hopes to enhance or create a new softball complex in order to continue the long-standing softball history of the family.

The goal is to pay tribute to a woman who is passionate about softball, about supporting softball players, and about uniting the community at the Wood’s Powr-Grip Complex or perhaps another venue in Laurel.

The Benson family has always placed a high value on softball.

“Freshman Addison and my other daughter Josie, she’s a junior,” said Sydney Benson. “They absolutely love softball.”

At the age of 44, Andrea Benson passed away suddenly last summer.

The goal now is to construct a softball complex and dedicate it to Andrea with the help of her husband Sydney and their daughters.

“Andrea would often say, win or lose, do it with class,” Sydney Benson said. “Softball itself not only grows leaders, but it helps you deal with loss.”

He discussed his daughters’ adjustment.

“They’ve had loss,” Benson said. “They’ve shed a lot of tears through softball. They’ve shed tears losing their mother. But they grow through that. They become stronger and stronger women.”

At the Carlton Depot in Laurel, friends, family, and the local neighborhood gathered.

They celebrated the debut of “At Bat With Andrea,” the inaugural “Carlton In The Community” fundraiser to support the envisioned softball complex.

“We’re just looking to help improve our community and honor Andrea the best we can,” said Shawna Hopper, Carlton Depot owner.

If voters approve a bond proposal for Laurel schools that includes softball fields, a new facility that includes softball fields would be erected, and that is where they want to commemorate Andrea.

“You say the name Andrea Benson or Whitcanack, which was her maiden name, you just associated her with softball,” said Lindsey Brown, who graduated with Andrea from Laurel High School in 1996. “She was wonderful at it. She was very dedicated to it and she passed that love down to her children as well.”

“Andrea was a friend of mine,” said Hopper. “We grew up together. I just thought that this was a great way to honor her memory and give back to the community at the same time.”

And Benson claims that having the neighborhood turn out for a fundraiser gives his family comfort.

“Anybody that’s lost a loved one, it is difficult to go through that process,” Benson said. “This makes me feel really good.”

Benson claims that the raffle brought in $2,540.

Hopper also intended to donate a portion of the earnings from the Carlton Store sales that evening.

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