BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) — There were bouquets of balloons, a cake fit for a superhero and dozens of guests at Butler Memorial Park on Tuesday evening.
Celebrating birthdays at the park was a tradition for 4-year-old Bentley Miller, but on Sept. 5, he wasn’t there to mark his 5th birthday.
Bentley was raped and killed back in March. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the suspect, Keith Jordan Lambing, the boyfriend of Bentley’s mother.
Bentley’s godmother, Renee Manny, started Bentley’s Army, a non-profit aimed at memorializing the little boy and giving back to the community.
Volunteers will replace play equipment at the park, make it handicapped-accessible, and install walkways and plant a garden.
The revitalization project is funded by donations and fueled by volunteer efforts. The park will be renamed “Bentley’s Place.”
“When a lot of people remember Bentley, they cry or get angry,” said Manny. “And that’s not what Bentley wants.”
Dozens of people gathered at the park to sing “Happy Birthday” to Bentley and to view plans for the park.
“It’s something I completely believe in and I think it does actually bring a lot of hope to hearts that have been broken,” said volunteer Sherri McKibbin. “I think this will give them [his family and friends] a place to come and remember him always.”