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Taking the plunge for a cause

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HUG: Huntington Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Chris Newton offers a hug to anyone who successfully dunked him.
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THROW: An attendee takes her shot at sending Chief Deputy Chris Newton into the cold water. The event allowed participants three throws for $1.
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DUNK: Chief Deputy Chris Newton falls into the dunk tank after a young attendee decided to take his chances into his own hands.
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DANCE: Jane Garrison and Gerald Eckert took some time to dance and snack together in the parking lot during the block party
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PIC: Chief Deputy Chris Newton smiles and looks at a photo someone took of him taking a plunge.

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@h-ponline.com

Music filled the air as guests arrived to an array of goodies including barbecue pork sandwiches, sno cones, yard games, a moon bounce, tractor show and dunk tank at the 2nd annual summer block party at Miller’s Merry Manor, Thursday evening.

This free event was to bring the community together but to also spread Alzheimer awareness. All free-will donations and money made from the raffle is going toward the Alzheimer’s Association.

In addition to raising that money, Admissions and Marketing Director Leanne Runyan said they hope this event helped people to revisit Miller’s and to see what they’re all about.

She added that after their first year for the party in 2017, they wanted to make it bigger.

“It was on a smaller scale, and we kind of just put it together in a couple of months. We had about 200 people from the community show up, so this year we’ve been working on it for about a year and made it a little bit bigger and brought it back out here so we’re hoping for a good turnout today,” she said.

Guests enjoyed visiting with familiar faces and casually dancing along to the music – some even donned purple shirts for Alzheimer’s awareness.

The dunk-tank made its return to the party this year to provide those in attendance with some extra laughter. Runyan said it was a hit last year and they had expectations for it to be a success this year as well.

The first person to take the seat in the tank was Huntington County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Chris Newton.

Newton said they had called to ask if he would want to help out and he just couldn’t say no – especially since it was for a good cause. He added that the Sheriff’s Department tries to be out and about in the community to be seen and involved and this was a great opportunity to do just that.

Though he was ready and prepared to take the plunge into the water, he did hold a small hope to stay dry.

“Well I hope I stay dry but I don’t think that’s ... in the cards for me tonight,” he said with a laugh.

Tim Beeks, of the Warren Area Antique Tractor Club Inc., fulfilled a dream of his by helping bring tractors out to the party – something he said he has always wanted to do for Miller’s. After getting them situated, he sat in the shade with his mother, Betty Beeks, who has been a resident at Miller’s for three years.

Before Betty was a resident there, Beeks said his grandmother, Opal Gamble, lived there until she passed away at 102. Even before that, Gamble was a dietician at Miller’s. Beeks explained that they’re pretty well-known around there as he has gotten to know the staff at Miller’s pretty well.

While he sat and chatted with his mother, Beeks said he’s hoping the block party will be even bigger and better next year.