Cache Valley Icon Brent Carpenter was all smiles with two superhero cakes and friends all around as people of all ages came out to Willow Park West on Saturday to help celebrate “Bicycle Brent’s” 70th birthday.
Partygoers on Saturday described Carpenter as “always cheerful,” “the best type of community member,” and “kind to everyone, no matter who you are.”
The weekend’s birthday bash was organized by Josh Barnett with help from Preston Parker and Julie Bair. Multiple local companies sponsored the event with T-shirts, a climbing wall and music.
“I still don’t believe he’s 70,” Barnett said. “He looks so happy saying hi to friends, signing T-shirts and taking pictures.”
Jessica Carrol said that she doesn’t personally know Carpenter but has seen him almost weekly since she moved to the valley in 2015.
“It never fails, I will see him on his bike probably once a week while I am on my way to USU,” Carrol said. “He always honks his horn and waves to me on 400 North. At first, I thought it was just me and that he knew me somehow, but it wasn’t until this year that I realized tons of people knew Brent because of this.”
Carrol decided to come to the party when she saw the event on Facebook, and she wanted to introduce herself to Carpenter.
“It’s just so amazing, everything that the community has done for him the last couple of months,” Carrol said.
In January, Barnett set up a GoFundMe page for Carpenter and the community came together to raise almost $39,000. Barnett said that Carpenter initially came to him for help after his rent was nearly doubled.
Carpenter lived alone in a small studio apartment with a balcony on which he would sit and wave to people going by.
In March, Barnett helped move Carpenter into a new apartment in an assisted living facility. With help from the community, Carpenter no longer needs to worry about paying rent or buying food for the rest of his life, and he also has medical attention available close by.
In late February, Carpenter had eye surgery as he is blind in one eye and limited in the other. Funds from the GoFundMe page and donations on Saturday have helped with the procedure, his apartment and his day-to-day needs.
Carpenter has family members in the valley who help him, and his sister, Linda, visits him weekly to help with laundry and manage his money.
Barnett has started the hashtag #BeLikeBrent on social media, and ever since January, people have shared their thoughts and memories of Carpenter.
“Brent is one of those constants that have always made the valley home for me,” wrote Shaun Smith on Facebook. “I remember always being thrilled to spot him as a child and loved to get a smile and a wave. I still smile and wave when I see him, and my kids now get excited when they spot him.”
As the summer is warmer, those in Cache Valley can expect to see Carpenter out and riding his bike and are invited to take the time to wave back.