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Late firefighter Ben Lauren and family honored by Elks

Marquette Elks Lodge 405 honors the late Forsyth Township firefighter Ben Lauren and his family during a Tuesday ceremony at the lodge. From left are Ben Lauren’s sister Tori, brother Levi, mother Carla, father Ron and Elks Exalted Ruler Russell Ransom. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)­­

MARQUETTE — Marquette Elks Lodge 405 on Tuesday honored the late Forsyth Township firefighter Benjamin Lauren and members of his family.

Lauren, 23, of Gwinn, was fatally injured while fighting a structure fire at K.I. Sawyer on March 13. He was a captain at the Forsyth Township Fire Department and a third-generation volunteer firefighter.

Elks Exalted Ruler Russell Ransom presented a medal of valor to Lauren’s family in honor of the fallen firefighter.

“It’s what Elks do,” Ransom said.

Ransom recited the “Firefighter’s Prayer” and a brief biography from Ron Lauren, Benjamin’s father.

“He and his siblings were often on scene in their car seats as little babies watching their dad,” Ransom said.

The younger Lauren enjoyed the big trucks and flashing lights.

“As he matured, his fascination became determination,” Ransom said.

Benjamin Lauren joined the fire department as a cadet at age 14, was certified as a firefighter at age 18 and became a captain at age 22, “which is quite an accomplishment for a young man,” Ransom said.

“He was a man of moral integrity, passionate and (with) a work ethic that was applauded within the community,” he said. “Even as a young man, Ben was a leader. He was determined to learn and succeed, and took pride in his work and actions.

“Ben was unwavering in his ability to enjoy each day and was always to help a friend or stranger. He would shrug off any praise, stating, ‘That’s just what we do. Pass it on.’ His strong Christian faith was easily displayed in his actions.”

Medals of service were given to Ron and Tori Lauren, both members of the Forsyth Township Fire Department. Tori Lauren is Benjamin’s sister.

Benjamin Lauren was a 2014 graduate of Gwinn High School and a 2018 graduate of Northern Michigan University, receiving a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering technology.

He already has received a posthumous honor. A memorial portion of M-35 in Forsyth Township was renamed the Ben Lauren and Don Riling Memorial Highway in honor of Lauren and Riling, a professional firefighter with the U.S. Air Force and a volunteer for the Forsyth Township Fire Department who died battling a house fire on March 19, 1988 in the township.

“This is truly unexpected,” Ron Lauren said at the Elks ceremony.

Also on hand at the ceremony were Benjamin’s mother, Carla; his brother, Levi; and members of the FTFD.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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