Thursday is a day to celebrate a local football star and spread random acts of kindness across Santee in his memory. The Santee City Council has proclaimed May 30, 2013 as Leon Bender Day.
"He was famous for his smile, his encouragement, acts of kindness and for never giving up," said Rob McNelis at the City Council meeting last week. See more from McNelis and from Leon's family in the attached videos.
Here's more about Leon and his story from a post published by his family earlier in the month:
Leon Bender was a Santana High School Graduate from the class of 93. He was very involved in ASB, Drama and Sports. Leon played football, basketball and ran track while he was a student there.
Leon made such a BIG impact on so many people's lives that when he went on to play college football at Washington State University, we were overjoyed. He never forgot his roots, always visiting and keeping in touch with those he grew up with.
Leon finally made it to the NFL draft, something he had always dreamed of. He was drafted in the 2nd round to the Oakland Raiders. We were ready to rock black and silver in Santee for our friend.
Unfortunately, three weeks after his draft, Leon suffered an epileptic seizure where he fell and crushed his windpipes and died.
That was 15 years ago this May 30th, and there isn't a day that goes by where Leon isn't thought of, talked about or remembered. His smile, heart and memory lives on in all of us. --