COMMUNITY. The City of Ottawa will be changing certain street names in the Innes Ward that may be confusing. One of these streets is the portion of Belcourt Blvd. between Jeanne d’Arc and Innes Rd. When thinking about what the new name should be, residents of Belcourt put together a petition to recognize a local leader, and fellow resident of the street, Frank Bender.
© (Photo TC Media-Kelly Snider)
As of early January 2016, Frank Bender will see his street Belcourt Blvd. be switched to Frank Bender Blvd.
Residents put Bender’s name forward, as they recognized the years and years of giving back he’s done for the community.
“People are more excited than I am about it,” laughed Bender.
“We received a notice that the name of the street had to be change because of the disconnect at the corner….a neighbour down the street said we want it named after you, for all you’ve done in the community.”
Bender said if the neighbours wanted to, they could. “I didn’t do anything, I said if you want to do it , do it.”
Currently, Bender’s days are filled with visiting his wife Helen at her nursing home every day, never missing an Ottawa Redblacks game, working at Carleton University, and working on a “Family Committee” at his wife’s nursing home.
“I’m helping out [on the committee] where I’m needed, but right now my attention is focused on my wife.”
Bender has lived on Belcourt since 1963. He is a ray of light to the neighbourhood, knowing who lives where, and even inviting everyone to him and Helen’s anniversary parties at their home every year.
“We don’t want people bringing gifts. We’ve been married [over 60 years] we have more gifts than we need. So we put them on the table and will give them away.”
Bender has always been actively involved in community sports.
He founded the Orléans St. Francois Bowling league, and was president for over 20 years.
He also founded and served as president of the Orléans Amateur Fastball Association for 25 years.
“When my son turned six, I wanted an activity for him to do. There was a group of people, about four teams [trying to start the association] but it was disorganized. The league was going to die.”
Bender said he was asked to take over and he said only if the association is run by the rules of Softball Canada.
“As the community grew, so did the league. By the time I was done, we had 100 house league teams and 10 competitive teams that won provincial championships. It was very successful.”
Bender also helped out with the Cumberland Township Ladies Fastball, and another league in the Ottawa Valley.
He also was involved with the Orléans Minor Hockey from 1974 to 1995.
But Bender wasn’t just involved with sports. He also lent a helping hand with various organizations that give back to residents of the east end, and residents across the country.
He began volunteering with the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa-Carleton for nearly 20 years, as a volunteer driver. He got involved with the society, after his daughter Karyn, who was 14 at the time, died due to kidney disease.
“We miss her every day.”
In 1993, he served as the Chairman of the Ottawa Chapter of the Kidney Foundation as well.
“[Helping in the community] is just something I’ve done all my life,” said Bender. “Why not help?”
Bender said his son Terry and his wife Helen are very proud of him and excited for the street change.
From the Orleans Star Feb 9 2016