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Family dedicates memorial bench for loved one killed in January 2021 vehicle crash

A new bench was put on the curb of North Chadbourne and 18th streets to honor a loved one.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — A San Angelo family dedicated a memorial bench made for their loved one Kristine Rodriguez after a January 2021 vehicle crash ended her life.

January 2021 was a tough month for the Troy family as they had to lay Rodriguez to rest at 39 years old. Since her death, Rodriguez’s mother, Sharon Troy, wanted to memorialize her in a unique way.

Once she came up with the personalized bench idea, the family just needed somewhere for it to be placed.

After having no luck with different businesses, the last business Troy went to was Texas Bank at the corner of West 19 and North Chadbourne streets. She asked the bank's president if her daughter’s memorial bench could be on his property - he approved the bench being placed there without any hesitation.

“He gave us no hassle and did not hesitate at all about the bench being there. After that approval, I looked online to find a company that made personalized benches and found a good company. It traveled all the way from Spanish Fork, Utah to here," Troy said.

The bench is just feet away from where the crash happened, which is what Troy wanted. Troy and her daughter, Kandace, created a GoFundMe page to help with donations for the creation of the bench. Donations covered more than half of the expenses.

What is on the bench is Rodriguez’s full name, her dates of birth and death, and a portrait of Jesus holding her in his arms.

In addition to that, the bench has the phrase “God has you in his arms. We have you in our hearts,” on it as well as the San Angelo Clubhouse and MHMR names.

Rodriguez’s sister, Kandace Troy, explained how Rodriguez dedicated all of her time to the San Angelo Clubhouse, which is an organization that empowers adults with diagnosed mental illness. The clubhouse also helped design the memorial bench.

Rodriguez was born on Christmas Day and this will be the family’s first year celebrating her birthday and the Christmas holiday without her. 

“When people ask if I’m excited for Christmas, they just really don’t know what’s behind it for me and my family,” Sharon Troy said. 

Kandace Troy also advised anyone who’s dealing with grieving this holiday season to seek help if they need it and remember the happy times with the loved one who has died.