Family and friends still mourn the loss of 30-year-old Clara Bender-Rinehart, who was killed in an explosion near 65th and Sprague one year ago.
Bender-Rinehart and her husband, Jake Rinehart, worked for Certified Property Management. Inspecting a home that had gas leaking from the clothes dryer, she was inside when the explosion occurred.
The Rinehart family said they miss Bender-Rinehart desperately. They said the family is taking a vacation this week to reflect on her life and are not focusing on the millisecond-long event that ended it.
Bender-Rinehart will be remembered as a mother, a wife, and a dedicated worker.
“She worked hard, she came to work and was there to prove something to somebody because she did it every day,” said Jeremy Aspen, president of Wistar Group, formerly CPM.
Aspen said Bender-Rinehart's husband still works for them, and this past year hasn’t been easy.
“The stories after she passed away were so inspiring, about how she had some rough spots in her life and came through,” he said.
Their office has hints of Bender-Rinehart all around, a token to never forget the impact she had on their lives.
“It is like the fingerprints they left on your soul that really make a difference moving forward,” Aspen said.
During the past year, the Wistar Group has helped the family mourn. The Omaha Fire Department even donated a check to Bender-Rinehart’s son.
Aspen said Jake Rinehart has been focused on raising their son and the anniversary brings up a lot of raw emotion.
“The family doesn't want to remember the accident at all. They want to remember they time they did have with her.”
And it is those good times with Bender-Rinehart that the family will hold onto.
Aspen said the company added the tragic accident to the safety training they do nation-wide, and that they got a call a few weeks ago from a worker in Texas saying they were able to save a life because of the new training.