ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — “He was my best friend. He was like a brother to me. We were inseparable. We did everything together.”
Vincent Sorrentino and Mason Bernabe met as kids during elementary school football and quickly formed a close bond. The two recently went to an apple orchard, neither suspecting a day filled with apple cider donuts and treats would be their final time together.
Bernabe, 18, was tragically killed in a single-vehicle accident on September 15. On Monday, Sorrentino brought the community together for a car ride to honor the Harlem High School alum.
People gathered from across town to drive a planned route starting at the intersection of Alpine and West Lane Roads, near the site of the fatal accident, to Rock Cut State Park nearby. While the cruise gave the community an opportunity to remember and honor Bernabe, it was especially important for his closest friend.
“I’m glad I got everybody out for the cruise,” said Sorrentino. “That really brought me a lot of closure.”
“Mason was very respectful, kind. He was just amazing person in general, and that meant a lot to everybody.”
The Bernabe family says Mason will forever be missed, but the love and support is appreciated. A visitation for Mason will take place Thursday night at Sunset Funeral Home, followed by the burial and a celebration of life on Friday.
“He’s gone, but he’s never forgotten,” said Sorrentino. “He’ll always have a spot in my heart.”