BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)–A Bay County woman is capturing the attention of many as she makes it her mission to keep her husband’s memory alive. She’s doing it with a little help from social media and a park bench. Nancy and Michael Allen shared not only a lifetime of memories but also a whole lot of determination.
21 years ago, the Allen’s moved to Panama City Beach. Each day, the couple would walk down Dolphin Drive and sit on their favorite bench overlooking the water.
“Well Hurricane Michael had other plans, October 2018, Hurricane Michael wiped out the entire dock and the bench,” Nancy Allen said.
Immediately, her husband Michael stepped into action, calling the Bay County Parks and Recreation Department and doing everything in his power to make sure their beloved park bench was restored.
“He called every week for one solid year,” Allen said.
Almost one year to the day, the Allen’s got the phone call they’d been waiting for. The entire dock would eventually be restored.
“Sadly, 4 weeks later, Michael died suddenly so he never got to see the bench or sit on it. Now it’s my turn,” said Allen.
Switching roles, Allen says she began pestering the county and making sure they followed through with their promise.
“June 26, 2020, I got the call from the Bay County Parks and Recreation Department that the bench was being installed that day,” said Allen.
On that bench now lays a plaque in memory of Michael Allen. There’s also a hashtag circulating Facebook to help keep his memory alive.
“It’s #Michael’s Bench PCB. And I encourage anyone who wants to go down to snap a picture, selfie, tag me,” said Allen.
So far, more than 50 people have shared their visit to Michael’s bench. While her husband may not be with her, Allen says she knows she’s never truly alone when sitting on that bench.
“He’s humbly looking down and proud that I continued with his mission, and that he’s sitting right with me,” said Allen.
Michael’s bench can be found at the end of Dolphin Drive off of Thomas Drive.