WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Woodford County and surrounding communities are coming together to celebrate and honor the life of an 8-year-old student killed in a car crash. People in Mercer County are using their skills and talents to create a memorial bench in his honor.
Welders at the Campbellsville University Harrodsburg campus are working on a memorial bench for 8-year-old Ritter Polston, who lost his life last week after a vehicle collision in Lexington.
Welding instructor Jim Lamirande, says, "We started Tuesday morning and here we are Wednesday morning, and you can see that the bench is pretty well framed out and we're gonna do some finishing touches."
Lamirande has grandkids at Huntertown Elementary School. His daughter thought this would be a great way to honor Ritter. As a former grade school educator who has lost students over the years, he knows losses like this one impact the entire community.
"The people of Versailles and Woodford County say, 'Hey these people come together outside the community and actually help honor this young man',” said Lamirande.
Once this shop's project is complete, more than 40 hours of work will have gone into this bench - a memory that will last several generations.
"One of the students had asked the teacher if they were gonna do a bench for Ritter," said Huntertown Elementary principal Elaine Kaiser. "So, when Jim contacted me, it was really good because that child will get to see the bench for his classmate."
Ritter's bench will be placed at the school with a tree and flowers. School leaders say this is an area students frequent and has become a memorial garden for other students that have passed away. Jim hopes students always keep Ritter in their memories.
Lamirande believes Ritter won't be forgotten.
"I think that will be the biggest part because he's such a young life, a second-grader and he had another four years at that school and the kids that are growing up moving on into the middle school and high school, they will still see this bench in his honor," said Lamirande.
Campbellsville University staff says this welding project directly aligns with their core values – they are working with others to make a difference. The bench is expected to be installed at the school early next week.