Memorial bench in Grants Pass for fallen teens stolen and vandalized

Grants Pass, Ore.-Last year Grants Pass High School lost two students, Max Belnap and Ryan Merker. Belnap and Merker were on the track team at GPHS.

But the team didn’t just lose teammates, they lost friends. For Mark Hubbard the loss was heavy. It was the loss of his best friend, Max Belnap.

“It was so hard. You could tell no one knew how to feel at the beginning of the school year,” Hubbard says.

Now track runners and the school are suffering another loss, the bench lovingly built as a memorial to Belnap and Merker. It’s been vandalized. And the wood forming the seat has been stolen.

Hubbard says he’s frustrated and confused how someone could do something like that.

The bench was put in nearly a year ago by Max Belnap’s younger brother Lucas as part of his Eagle Scouts project.

Mark Hubbard says the bench is more than a seat to those who knew Belnap and Merker. It was something nice thing to look at every time they hit the track. A reminder of their teammates.

When he found out part of the bench had been stolen he couldn’t believe it. Hubbard hit the track to workout, but more than anything he came to see if it was true. That the bench commemorating his best friend and teammates life had in fact been stolen.

And now, more than anything, all Hubbard and the school want is to have the piece that represented their fallen friends back.

If you know anything about the missing part of the bench contact Grants Pass High School or the Grants Pass Police.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content