Laird benefit an opportunity to give back

Brendon Taylor Lairdby marlys good

“Life goes on, even though at times you wish it wouldn’t,” said Mike Laird on the eve of the anniversary of the death of his and wife Andrea’s 18-year-old son Brendon, who died June 6, 2014, from injuries suffered in a tragic automobile accident. “We are still in shock and disbelief but life has to go on. We drive through every day and cry every night.”

Mike and Andrea have 18 years of memories to help them through the days and nights, and the memories of Brendon shared by hundreds of people whose lives were touched by the introspective young man.

The outpouring of donations received by the Lairds laid the groundwork for the first annual Brendon Laird Memorial Benefit scheduled for Saturday, May 30.

Explained Mike, “There was an account set up at Big Horn Federal, and there was quite a bit of money. We didn’t need it to pay Brendon’s medical bills; my health insurance paid it all. It didn’t feel right to put in our pocket, so we turned it into a scholarship fund and set up a 501c3 nonprofit.

“We gave seven scholarships to Greybull seniors this year,” Mike said. “Originally we were going to select just one, but we had seven applications and couldn’t pick just one.”

The benefit will include a morning ride, free for anyone who wants to participate. You don’t have to ride a horse, Mike said. You can ride, bicycle, walk or run, anything as long as no motorized vehicles are involved.

No pre-signup is necessary. Just be at the McFadden Arena, 2480 Lane 39 1/2 (north of Greybull) and register at 9 a.m. The ride (either 5 or 10 miles, rider’s choice) begins at 10 a.m. At the conclusion of the ride, a light lunch will be served for a nominal fee.

“It’s planned as just a gathering of friends, enjoying the great outdoors, a time for story-telling, having fun, sharing remembrances of Brendon. Brendon loved being outside, riding horses; he used to ride out there.”

The fundraising part of the benefit starts with a dinner at the Greybull Elks Lodge at 6 p.m. Cost is $10 and will include the dinner, dance (music by the Rewinders) and live and silent auctions.

Mike has been listing auction items on the Brendon Laird Memorial Facebook page and will be updating it every day until the benefit.

All proceeds will go directly to the Brendon Laird Memorial Scholarship established at Big Horn Federal. The money will be used for scholarships for Riverside and Greybull high school students who plan to further their education in the vocational field.

Mike said response to the benefit has been “absolutely amazing. Our community is amazing; our state is amazing. It has been phenomenal. We are getting responses from family and friends of course, but from people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Montana, Iowa, all over the state of Wyoming. We have gotten donations from people we don’t even know, but who knew or had met Brendon at some point and been impressed with the kind of young man he was.”