Blake Vandestrek is a senior and has been working long days on something very special.
“It just really spoke to me as a person and as a welder, I just like to do something for the first time and it was actually one of my first projects,” said Vanderstrek.
What Vanderstrek is referring to is Brian’s Buddy Bench.
“Just to be doing something in someone’s honor is a good experience,” Vanderstrek said.
Brian Perez tragically lost his life in a house fire last November, that’s why faculty at Fowler Elementary came up with the idea to make a bench in his honor. Something welding teacher BC Gilbert said he hopes sends a strong message.
“Hopefully it’ll make students, especially at that young age that mindset realize that ya know your life is not in vain and there are gonna people there that’ll remember you when you’re gone no matter how tragic it is,” said Gilbert.
The bench took students just over two weeks to build, Gilbert said without the welding program at the CEC they wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this.
“Its really exciting to be in a program where we’re able to create things like that that does give back to the community, and I think its great because my students get to take some ownership with that and they get to take some pride in it,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert and his students, like Vandestrek, hope that once the bench is complete and installed it will give the family and Brian’s classmates a place to come and take a rest and reflect on the life their buddy Brian lived.