NewsLocal News


Family and friends want to build softball fields in memory of Laurel woman

Benson 3.jpg
Posted at 12:31 AM, Mar 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-14 11:12:54-04

LAUREL - The Laurel community came together to honor one of their own, Andrea Benson, who died suddenly last summer.

Benson's husband is looking to carry on the family's strong softball tradition by upgrading or building a new softball complex.

The whole idea is to honor a woman who is passionate about softball and passionate about helping softball players and bringing the families and the players and the community together at the Wood's Powr-Grip Complex or possibly at another location in Laurel.

Softball has always been a big part of life for the Benson family.

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

Andrea Benson died unexpectedly at the age of 44 last summer.

And now her husband Sydney and their daughters hope to build a softball complex and name it after Andrea.

"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 talked about how his daughters are coping.

"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."

Family, friends, and the community came together at Carlton Depot in Laurel.

They celebrated the very first "Carlton In The Community" fundraiser, "At Bat With Andrea" to help with the proposed softball complex.

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

They want to honor Andrea at the Wood's complex or at a new facility that would be built if voters approve a bond issue for Laurel schools that includes softball fields.

"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 says seeing the community come up for a fundraiser is comforting for his family.

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

According to Benson, the raffle raised $2,540.

Hopper also planned on donating some of the proceeds from the night's sales at Carlton Depot.