Bench dedicated to Newburgh woman who died from COVID-19

Bench dedicated to Newburgh woman that died from COVID-19

NEWBURGH, Ind. (WFIE) - A new tribute to a local woman who helped her community at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As previously reported, Newburgh resident Bonnie McLeod sewed thousands of masks and gave them away to people who didn’t have one. She ended up contracting the virus and passed away around two months ago.

We spoke with Scott McLeod, Bonnie’s husband, about a new tribute to her that he’s proud to have with him. He says it’s a buddy bench that will soon be taken to Yankeetown Elementary School in memory of Bonnie.

14 News asked Scott on Saturday where he got the idea of creating this buddy bench, and he says it was actually Bonnie’s idea. Before she passed away, Bonnie asked her husband to make sure she had a buddy bench in her memory.

Scott explained why a buddy bench was perfect to honor his wife.

”It was about having a place that all her co-workers too can say if they’re having a bad day or something go out and talk to her, because she had a way with calming people down,” he said. “I mean she just did. She’s a good listener. She would listen to anybody and say that’s too bad or something, but then at the end of the conversation, they were best friends. They’d be okay. Everything was alright.”

[PREVIOUS: Friends celebrate life of Bonnie McLeod]

Scott says it’s more than just a bench.

“On her last day, she said I’d really like to have a buddy bench,” he said. “She gave me five marching orders that day. That was one of them.”

A buddy bench that operates as a getaway and a place to be heard.

“It was one of those things that she wanted them to be able to remember her,” Scott said. “We put the elephants on there, she didn’t, she probably does know, but we put the elephants on there because they’re good luck when the trunk is up.”

Although gone, Scott says Bonnie’s legacy will forever live on.

“It ends one chapter before we begin another chapter,” he said. “I will always love Bonnie in my heart no matter what. You remember all the good times.”

Scott and some friends plan to take Bonnie’s buddy bench over to its final stop at Yankeetown Elementary on Monday.

He says that people may not be able to see it out until after spring break, but when it’s there, Bonnie will be ready to listen.

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