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Kila boy inspired and united a community

by Daily Inter Lake
| January 20, 2021 12:00 AM

The procession stretched for at least a mile as local fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles caravaned from Evergreen to Kila last week to honor the life of young Maverick Bench.

During his treatment for aplastic anemia, the 9-year-old Kila boy received two bone marrow transplants and a number of other procedures over eight long months. He finally succumbed to the rare illness Jan. 11, surrounded by his family.

His relentless fight against the disease was shared with the community through Maverick’s Army, a Facebook support group that had grown to include more than 25,000 followers. Through those social media posts, Maverick taught us about bravery, and in a time of so much divisiveness, his courage actually united us.

This was plainly evident as so many gathered to pay their respects as the procession made its way across the valley — a touching tribute to the Bench family and the young man who inspired an entire community though his strength to share with others, even when he had so little strength left for himself.

Maverick’s fierce battle reminds us that we all have a “warrior” within.

A ferocious windstorm ripped across Northwest Montana last week, knocking down swathes of trees and leaving some 16,000 homes from Essex to Libby without power.

But even as the winds raged, local employees with Flathead Electric Co-op were out in the elements, busting tail to get the lights — and heat — back on as quickly as possible. With overnight lows dipping into the 20s, time was of the essence.

We’re thankful for the dedicated linemen and other workers who braved the weather and many long, cold nights to help restore power as quickly as possible.