Bench Named in Memory of Jim Bell

October 14, 2019 (Independence, IA) – The Independence Community School District (ICSD) and Mustang Foundation, Inc. would like to extend their thanks after a recent donation was made to the American Trotter Trail project.  Emily Cahalan organized a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for a bench in memory of her uncle, Jim Bell.  In less than two weeks, more than $1500 was raised from various community and family members to reach the fundraising goal.

Jim spent more than 17 years as a custodian for the Independence Community School District, and cared deeply about the staff and students he worked with. He enjoyed reading, and spent many hours lost in a mystery or western novel. His family was important to him, and he attended every one of his boys’ basketball games. He was usually found in the opposing teams bleachers making friends.

The bench will be located in front of the JR/SR High School where students, staff and guests entering the facility can see Jim’s plaque and remember all the good he brought to the community and his family. The family chose to have the plaque say “loved by family and friends” because of the love of the family and friends who paid for the bench.   

Making a donation to Mustang Foundation, Inc., c/o the American Trotter Trail Project is a distinct way to honor a loved one, recognize a graduating class (Class of XXXX), remember an achievement (XXXX State Champs), or publicize your business name to all who frequent the trail. The funds donated to the Mustang Foundation, c/o the American Trotter Trail Project, are used to pay for additional benches and other improvements at Leinbaugh Field, Mustang Way Park and the tennis courts. 

Community members have access to this paved trail on part of the Independence Community School District’s 92 acres. The American Trotter Trail name is in honor of the late C.W. Williams who owned a horse racing publication in the 1890’s called The American Trotter, and also had a nationally recognized kite-shaped horse racing track, located primarily on the school’s 92 acres. 

To make a donation or for more information on the American Trotter Trail, visit the Independence Mustang Foundation website at