Fans pay tribute to well-known elk

Since early January, a number of tribute sites have sprung up on the internet to commemorate the life of Fred, one of Benezette's most well-known inhabitants; however, it is interesting to note that Fred was not a person, but an elk. Marci Geise, founder of the "Fred Jr. #36 ~ A Lasting Tribute" page on Facebook, explained that she created the page the day after she learned of Fred's passing."He was put down on Jan. 7 and I created the page on Jan. 8," Geise said. "I wanted to create a place in which people could share memories and photos. I want to keep his memory alive, so I will continue to post photos of him and I hope others will continue to share as well."Geise remarked that members of the public have really supported her tribute page for the elk, taking time to share photos of him and mention how much they will miss seeing him in the Benezette area.Geise also shed some light onto how the animal came to be called Fred. "Years ago, there was an elk named Fred. Then #36 came along and resembled the original Fred, so he was named Fred Jr.," Geise said. While Geise noted that she is not a resident of Benezette, she explained that she has spent a lot of time in the community over the last five years and understands how many of the residents felt about Fred. "I am sure the residents did not like the traffic jams Fred caused, but I know they cared about him. Many looked out for him, and that is the main reason why he lived to be approximately 18 to 19 years old. Fred brought the town together. Everyone talked about him and they kept note of where he was seen each day," Geise said. Geise added that with Fred tending to hang close to town, visitors were normally guaranteed at least one elk sighting during a visit to the community.