A very tough end to 2013 for several Quad City communities and for the family of a couple from Wilton, Iowa, who died on their way to see the Hawkeyes play in the Outback Bowl.
In small towns like Wilton, Iowa and Durant, Iowa, it’s hard to find a stranger.
“Didn’t know a stranger,” said Gary DeLong, former Athletic Director for Durant.
Especially for people like Elaine and Kenneth Behrens.
“They were very involved in the community. They were always volunteering to do things,” said Jackie Braet, a longtime friend of Elaine and Kenneth.
“Everybody just liked Bear. I mean, there wasn’t anyone that didn’t. He was just a big old bear is what he was,” said DeLong.
Bear, as friends call Kenneth, was an avid sports fan. He announced high school football and basketball games and umpired softball games.
“All my years, he was by far, our most dedicated fan,” said DeLong.
He was even Mayor of Durant for a year.
“He was good people, him and Elaine both,” said DeLong.
Bear’s wife, Elaine was a longtime elementary school teacher in Durant.
“Of course, Elaine, I just thought the world of her. So good with the elementary kids and stuff like that,” said DeLong.
Both shared a love for the Hawkeyes.
“They loved their Iowa sports,” said Braet.
“My heart just dropped, I just couldn’t believe it. That that happened. What a waste,” said Braet.
“When I got the word yesterday, I just uh, it’s hard, it’s hard for me,” said DeLong.
“Just so unexpected, ya know,” said DeLong.
Making people like DeLong wonder why.
“There’s a reason. They got a good one, got two good ones. Wherever they are, they’ll make it a better place. I know they did for me,” said DeLong.
And for so many others in the towns of Wilton and Durant.
“The community’s really going to miss both of them, very, very much,” said Braet.