At Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, there were nearly two hundred of them, and they were all crying as they lined the halls. On Saturday, Stuart Bennett was going to do his last lap, and everyone wanted to say goodbye. The event is known as a walk of honor. Patients who have made the decision to donate their organs are taken from their rooms to the surgery rooms through these corridors. The family of the former Northview High School distance runner had no choice but to respect the patient’s decision to donate his organs.
No one in the gathering was surprised to learn that Stu’s latest act was something he did to help other people. James Grounds, who coached him cross-country at Northview, remarked this week that the late athlete was the kind of person who “would have done anything for anyone”. “He really didn’t care about himself.” Just after midnight on June 18, Bennett was involved in a single-vehicle collision that left him with life-threatening injuries in southern Clay County.
After being airlifted to hospital there were initially some positive indications, but by the middle of the previous week the excitement had completely dissipated. And many people were left in mourning. “He was an incredible teammate who was adored by all of his teammates,” Grounds added, “from seniors when he was a freshman to college kids racing today.”
“He carried out every effort with elegance. If one of his competitors were injured or had a poor performance in the race, he would be one of the first to move and offer a few words of comfort. It is impossible to put into words how much those involved in our program will regret having him with us. He was like a brother to all of us on the team. Nicole Gonzales, Northview’s athletic trainer, remarked that her client was a hard worker who was ready to persevere through almost any challenge. “With a soft tone of voice and a quick smile.”
Bennett was not only one of the school’s majors in 2022, but he also earned four different letterings in cross country and track and field for the Knights. He attended Southern Illinois University, where he majored in mathematics and studied there. The Lawson-Miller Chapel, located at 1702 E. National Avenue in Brazil, will be open for visitation Friday from 3-8 p.m. Saturday at eleven o’clock in the morning, the funeral will take place there. “Stu was someone who meant the world to me,” Grounds said in conclusion. “He’s one of those athletes that a coach knows he can always count on, and he never lets them down…a true athlete who has shown incredible character.