Park bench remembering Marine Corps veteran in Huntsville stolen

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A family in Madison says they’re upset after it appears someone stole a park bench in memory of their father.
The bench along Aldridge Creek Greenway was in memory of Richard Mansfeldt.

“He said to me one day, ‘if I can’t walk that greenway, what’s the point of my life?'” Richard’s daughter Kathy Skibinski said.

From the fall colors to the wildlife, it’s easy to see what attracted Dick Mansfeldt to the Aldridge Creek Greenway.

“And he walked it every day, rain or shine. It didn’t matter if it was sleeting, snowing, raining,” Kathy said. “He was on the greenway doing his four miles.”

A daily ritual for her father. Kathy says Dick walked the greenway until he died 14 years ago.

“And we still miss him very much to this day,” Kathy said.

After he passed, a green bench for Dick was cemented in the shade along the creek path. But last week, Kathy’s son said the bench was gone. They called city park staff who weren’t aware it was missing.

“It wasn’t in the warehouse, so we pretty much knew it was stolen,” Kathy said.

Kathy says she and her siblings chipped in over a thousand dollars to dedicate the bench to Dick. So, to find out it’s no longer here hurts in more ways than one. Especially since she says her father, who was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, passed away on Veterans Day.

“Everybody tells me they maybe would’ve got $10 or $15 for metal. So it’s kind of sad to think that would’ve been its demise,” Kathy said.

Kathy called city park workers who made a police report. She doesn’t know who could’ve taken the bench or why.

“I’m going to keep hoping it turns up somewhere,” Kathy said.

Kathy says she hopes the bench is returned to its rightful place, a spot where other walkers and runners can stop and appreciate the beauty, just like her father did.

Kathy says parks workers told her they don’t know how long it’ll take to install a new bench.

Her family made a Facebook post about the bench, they’re hoping someone has a tip to help police find the bench with her father’s name on it.

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