Two men remember their mentor, Mr. Bruce Benson

WEBB CITY, Mo. – In 2016 we brought you the story of Bruce Benson. He was then a 90-year-old world war two veteran from Webb City who at the time paid tribute to other veterans with a nightly playing of taps.
Today, we learned that Benson, now age 95, has passed away.
We spoke with a couple of kids he mentored to find out what kind of impact he had.

That’s from our story with Bruce Benson back in 2016, when he played taps right here, in front of “The Civic Place” in Webb City. Over the years, he’s mentored several young musicians, including 13-year-old Harris Olsen. “He always would say practice, practice, practice, he always liked loved people to practice and be patriotic.”

Harris practiced with Mr. Benson for the last five years, and in that time, he even got a couple of gifts. “The cornet he passed to me I think was from 1953 it’s a very cool cornet.”

Harris says the cornet is undergoing repairs, but he also got a bugle from Mr. Benson. What he remembers, is his patriotism. “He would play the national anthem then taps then pledge of allegiance the last few months and stuff and then he would say something to his wife who passed away.”

14-year-old Nathan Jacks also had the honor of spending time under Mr. Benson’s direction. “I was sad that my mentor and friend had passed away…it was a sad time when I found out.”

He came out Monday night to honor him the same way Mr. Benson honored the military. “He faithfully played the taps right here every night in honor of the military and the fallen heroes.”

Randy Benford is Nathan’s grandfather. In a world where kids Nathan’s age could be out doing other things, he was proud of the role model he had in Mr. Benson, and how it impacted his grandson’s life. “It was really something and Nathan has always been the type of young man that when we’re out if he sees someone wearing a veterans hat he always goes over and thanks them for their service to the country and it’s just something that’s in his heart and…I’m just proud of him for being like that.”

As for Harris Olsen, he has a pretty good idea what Mr. Benson and his wife are doing right now. “I would like to imagine them dancing in heaven now because his wife was a dancer.”

There’s no word yet on services for Bruce Benson.

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