Elizabeth Bender ’17 & Justin Bender ’16

Grove L. Armstrong ’53
July 13, 2017
Jane Dewandel Ballesty ’90
July 17, 2017

Elizabeth Valento ’17 and Justin Bender ’16 were married at First Presbyterian Church in Brockport on June 30, 2017.  Their reception was at Hickory Ridge Golf & Country Club in Holley.  Running is a sport that has become a huge asset in the lives of both Justin and Liz.  While they both competed at the collegiate level, they became teammates at Roberts Wesleyan and from there really got to know each other.  In February 2015, Justin and Liz made a trip to Niagara Falls with Buffalo’s best tour guide around (Kennedy).  Despite the below freezing temperatures, they had a great time.  A few days later, on February 19th, Justin asked Liz to be his girlfriend in the middle of a run on a bridge in her hometown, Pavilion, NY.  On November 6th, 2016, Liz had a long run and what she didn’t realize was that this run was going to be like no other.  As Justin had planned to propose on this date, he knew that the best place to ask his future wife would be where he had initially asked her to be his girlfriend.  Keeping that in mind, halfway through Liz’s run, they got to that same “rickety-rackety bridge” in Pavilion.  Once they were on the bridge they noticed that there was a crumpled note lying on the ground.  They picked up the note and on it said: “If Love birds happen to see this, and 1 is a Lifesaver who is Loved to the MilkyWay and back, take these.” Next to the note were a Lifesaver and a MilkyWay. Before Liz knew it, Justin was giving her the MilkyWay and getting down on one knee as he unwrapped the gummy Lifesaver candy.  While he put that candy ring on her finger, he asked, “Do you know what’s better than a ring made of sugar?”  From a pile of leaves nearby, Justin pulled out a box, opened it, and asked Liz to marry him.  Liz replied with a quick “Yes!”  Congratulations!