The Vashon Sportsmen’s Club recently made a donation to the Vashon Grappler Society in honor of Robert Bennedsen, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 while serving as a lieutenant in the Army.
The donation, $1,019, will go toward the Grapplers’ scholarship fund and help send wrestlers to camp who otherwise might not have been able to go, according to Lauren Chin, a member of the Sportsmen’s Club who has been active with the club’s Bennedsen fund since it began.
Bennedsen, who graduated from Vashon High School in 2004, was an athlete with a special affinity for wrestling. His parents, Tracy and Scott Bennedsen, who now live in Hawaii, donate to this fund every year in his honor. Reached recently, Tracy said she was pleased to learn of this donation and that her only son is being remembered on the island.
“I am so happy that people have chosen not to forget him,” she said.
Before Bennedsen was killed, he had asked his parents if Vashon might send the men and women in his unit care packages because he noticed many troops did not receive support from home. Vashon was in the midst of responding to that request when Bennedsen was killed by an improvised explosive device.
Over the course of the next year and half, the Sportsmen continued to send items to those in his unit, eventually sending 140 boxes totaling nearly 2,000 pounds.
The Sportsmen sent the last box in October of 2011, Chin said. They kept the fund open until recently in case another islander serving in the military might need Vashon’s support. They recently decided to close the fund and elected to donate the money to a scholarship fund in Bennedsen’s name.
Lisa Devereaux, the secretary of the Grappler Society, said she, too, is pleased about the donation.
“It’s wonderful. It was great they did all that for his (unit) for so long ... and that the remainder of the money will go to something he cared so much about. He loved wrestling.”
Vashon has two scholarship funds in honor of Robert Bennedsen. To donate, send a check, earmarked accordingly, to the Vashon Grappler Society at P.O. Box 164 or the Vashon Community Scholarship Fund at P.O. Box 1413.