Some of you knew my brother. Most of you will never know him. Many years ago, the first time I attended the Ridge-A-Thon, I sat quitely on my frozen-butt on the snow, looking very much the part of the non-participating, amateur slug that I was. Ben was the great skier in the family. I’ve seen what Ridge-A-Thon athletes ski, and you all have my admiration. One of Ben’s friends had pointed me out to a pair of skiers who came up to me and started asking me questions about Ben. I didn’t quite know what to say… where to start. Knowing that they had to start their hike up the ridge again shortly, I decided to keep the conversation short. A friend once told me that everything you really need to know about someone can be learned by the deed he did in his life, in the moment when it meant the most.
When my brother came to face his own meaningless death, at the age of twenty-six, his friend Jimmy came to him and asked him “What do you want of me? What can I do for you?” My brother answered, “I want you to help the people who helped me.” And so Jimmy, and Ken and several of his other friends did, and that is why Ridge-A-Thon is here today. That was Ben. In a moment when he had every right to ask for a little something for himself, what he wanted most was for help for others. He was a very selfless, caring person. That was his way.
I think that it would please him very much to see what has become of that request he made so long ago. It certainly pleases our family.
Written to our participants in 2012 by Eva Pryor, Ben’s sister.