Eli Brookens’ memorial bench installed

Family members, friends and schoolmates now have a place to visit near the Waterbury community garden where they can sit and remember the life of Eli Brookens.

Brookens, 16, from Waterbury was one of five students killed October 8, 2016, when their car was struck by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 89 in Williston. The other students who lost their life were Cyrus Zschau, Liam Hale, Mary Harris and Janie Chase Cozzi. Since that time, the community has pulled together in many ways to memorialize the lives of the students.

Some put up lit stars on the sides of businesses and homes. Others visit the newer built gazebo on the Harwood Union High School lawn, surrounded by painted rocks on which students and loved ones write messages of hope, love and inspiration. The new wooden bench in Waterbury behind the town library overlooks the town gardens on the ridge overlooking Dac Rowe Field. The bench is also surrounded by painted rocks, sporting kind words and memories.

Alex Mackenizie of Cyprus Woodworks donated his time to make the memorial bench for Eli. Inscribed on the bench is a poem that Eli himself wrote titled “Alive.”

"Why is life worth living – because we make it so. You, and only you can dictate the path you travel down. There will be others but none like you." – Eli Brookens.

The ceremonial bench was placed on the ridge overlooking Dac Rowe Field on July 27 with a dedication ceremony attended by friends and family.

Eli Brookens memorial bench poem