'Ben's Favorite Things' fundraiser remembers local teen

Devin Arsenault wore her t-shirt memorializing Ben Emmond, a local teen who was killed in a car accident last year, to the Benís Favorite Things fundraiser held at Gunstock Mountain Resort last weekend. Danielle DeLisle.
May 06, 2009
The Gunstock Mountain Resort was awash in purple and filled with over 200 people last Friday during the Ben's Favorite Things fundraiser.

The fundraiser was held in memory of Ben Emmond who, along with his friend Gilford student Alex Rowson, was killed in a car accident on April 9 of last year.

"The community here is awesome," said Jeff Emmond, Ben's father. "They are the best, and we are so appreciative of everything they have done for us."

The day started with a skateboarding competition followed by a raffle, silent auction, live auction and Guitar Hero competition. Prizes were donated from local businesses. Purple memorial bracelets bearing the phrase "Rest Easy" and DVDs of the movies made by Emmond and Rowson in their multi-media class were available for purchase. Patrons also received a full dinner along with their ticket. After the competitions and auction DJ's spun music while the crowed danced the night way. Purple was Emmond's favorite color, and many in attendance sported purple ribbons or shirts to show support.

"I really want people to remember his laugh," said Jeff Emmond, "his laugh and his love of life."

Pictures and drawings of Emmond through his life were placed around the lodge and passers stopped to look and point out themselves in the pictures or tell a story about Emmond to their companions. Travis Knowlton was his best friend and responsible for picking out the activities and organizing the skateboarding competition. The boys lived just three doors down from each and often skated together.

"I had never done anything like this before," said Knowlton, adding that he did it because Emmond was his best friend.

All of the profits from the evening go to Ben's favorite charities in the area: the Laconia Skate Park, the Ben Emmond Memorial Fund, the WLNH Children's Auction and the Alex Rowson and Ben Emmond Memorial Scholarships. Emmond was an avid skateboarder and volunteered a lot of time to the Children's Auction. The scholarships go to students interested in multi-media, which is what Emmond had planned to study.

Previous fundraisers have included a dinner at Patrick's Pub & Eatery as well as selling bumper stickers, t-shirts, bracelets and necklaces bearing Emmond's image. On May 16 there will be a three on three basketball tournament to benefit the Alex Rowson and Ben Emmond Memorial Scholarships fund.

"I think this a very good thing," said Mary Jo Knowlton, mother of Travis. "It is something productive and positive. The kids feel like they are doing something constructive. Something positive can come out of this tragedy"

Mary Jo Knowlton said that they had a great turnout because Emmond had a lot of friends. She described him as being a happy-go-lucky kid who was always smiling. Friends of Emmond donated many of the pictures they had of Emmond on display during the event.

"He was the best friend anybody could have," said Travis Knowlton. "I don't have one bad memory of him."

"I don't have one bad memory of him" ~ Travis Knowlton of best friend Ben Emmond
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