Officer David Rigney touched many lives
By Shaun Tilghman
News Editor – North Manchester News-Journal
Just over a week has passed since the accident that claimed the life of North Manchester Police Officer David Rigney, and in the wake of tragedy, communities across Wabash County have joined together not only in mourning the loss, but also in celebrating his life.
The 39-year-old LaFontaine native was off-duty when the crash occurred last Monday afternoon. Rigney was heading south on State Road 15 when his SUV fishtailed and crossed into the northbound lane, where it was struck by a school bus, before returning to the southbound lane and being struck by another vehicle – he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sgt. Brian Enyeart, a veteran of the North Manchester Police Department, said the loss was devastating on many different levels.
“People outside of law enforcement don’t understand the bond that law enforcement officers have – it’s more than just as coworkers or even friends, we truly are ‘brothers in blue’,” Enyeart said. “There is a lot of stuff that is easier to talk about with other officers than with other people, because they just don’t understand. With Dave, you always knew if you needed anything you could call him and he would be there to help you out.”
by Gary Andrews
Not only did the Wabash Lady Apache basketball team open their 2014-15 season with an impressive 60-44 win over Mississinewa Friday; they got to be part of history as senior Claire Cromer went off for 42 points to set the Wabash single game scoring record.
The Lady Apaches dominated right from the start, jumping out to an 11-0 lead and leading 14-4 after the end of the quarter. Claire Cromer had all 14 points for Wabash.
Mississinewa would cut the Wabash lead to 16-10 early in the second quarter before Shelby Stone buried two shots from behind the arch to build the lead to 22-10. The Indians again cut the lead to single digits before Cromer drained back-to-back three’s, then hit four straight free throws to increase the lead to 31-18. At 31-22 Cromer would hit a shot before the buzzer as Wabash led 33-22 at the half.
Kristin Cromer and Sarah Puckett would get in on the scoring action in the third while Claire Cromer kept rolling as the Lady Apaches built their lead to 45-25 before leading 45-26 after three.
Claire Cromer would hit a three to get the Wabash scoring going in the fourth as sister Kristin hit two free throws as Wabash rolled to a 60-44 win.
Claire Cromer led the way with 42 points. Shelby Stone and Kristin Cromer added 6 points each, Sarah Puckett 4, Katie McCauley 2.
By Bill Barrows
Periodically, I have the privilege to witness heartwarming and amazing things that happen in the course of my daily activities in youth sports at the Wabash County YMCA. This week, I watched as a young man took a huge step forward on a long road back to regaining his health.
Jace Randel’s parents, Jason and Amanda, registered him to play 4th & 5th grade tackle football in August. Jace expected to play with a number of his classmates on the Cowboys team this fall while learning some life lessons along the way. He had no idea the roller coaster ride he had in front of him.
”On Aug. 20 (ironically, the same day as the first football practice) Jace began not feeling well. I took him in to his pediatrician after a few days of stomach pain. He ordered blood work, just to be sure it wasn’t an appendicitis. The blood work came back abnormal,” explained Amanda.
After consulting with their pediatrician, the Randels prepared for a trip to Riley Hospital.
“The Pediatrician explained to us that Jace's blood work had come back abnormal, and after consulting with a few Riley Oncologists, they thought Jace had leukemia.” Amanda continued, “We were being sent to Riley to run more blood work and prepare him for a bone marrow biopsy.” Jason & Amanda told their son what this meant; Jace was crushed.
“I told him that we were NOT putting our faith and trust into one test. We would be putting our faith in God who, we KNEW, could do anything!!” She explained, “What a calming affect that can have on a person, to know WHO is in control and WHO is all powerful,”
The blood work at Riley came back inconclusive. Jace received a platelets transfusion in order to perform the biopsy to prevent excessive bleeding. He had an allergic reaction to the platelet transfusion. Instantly, he began to break out in hives and his throat started swelling. After giving him large doses of Benadryl, he was finally able to sleep. The biopsy came back negative. Several other tests were run, for conditions such as; mono, autoimmune markers, and vitamin deficiencies, and all came back normal. Normal was a relative term. Jace wasn’t getting any worse, but was also wasn’t getting any better either.
by Gary Andrews
The Southwood VolleyKnights had one last game scheduled for the year Saturday and it was the state championship. The Lady Knights had won nine straight games to win the sectional, then defeated Clinton Central 3-0 for the regional title. Last Saturday Southwood won the very tough Bremen semi state by topping Adams Central 3-1 and Hammond Bishop Noll 3-2 for the semi state title. Saturday at Ball State the VolleyKnights had the task of taking on defending state champion Providence for the state title.
Southwood, the 2A public school state champion hung tough, but the power hitting of Providence ended up being too much as the VolleyKnights fell 17-25, 14-25, 18-25.
Providence got off to a 10-3 start in game one before the Knights shook off the championship jitters and started to go to work. Emilie Harnish would get a kill and Bailey Lundmark a block during a 5-0 run to close the gap to 10-8. Providence would then score 10 of the next 14 points to open a 24-15 lead before two Sami White tips kept the game alive, but one last Pioneer kill ended game one 17-25.
Southwood jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start game two with Sami White serving. Kaitlyn Murphy had a kill with White scoring on an ace and a tip. Bailey Hobbs would get a kill as the Knights extended their lead to 8-3 before the Pioneer’s got hot. Providence would score 6 of the next 7 points to tie the game at 9 before a White tip and an Emilie Harnish ace made it 11-9. With Southwood up 12-10 the sleeping giant awoke as Providence went on a 10-1 run to grab a 20-13 lead on their way to the 25-14 final.
by Emily Armentrout
After traveling to Mexico on a mission trip, Wabash local, Jenny Wilson, knew that there was a mission waiting for her somewhere. Knowing she could not travel to Mexico every year to serve, Wilson set out on a search for a mission she could begin in Wabash County.
“I wanted to do something that would help our local kids and I just started researching,” Wilson told The Paper.
Wilson found Blessings in a Backpack, a national program that “provides elementary schoolchildren who are on the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal Program with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends during the school year,” according to blessingsinabackpack.org. Wilson approached the principals of the three younger elementary schools in the area, O.J. Neighbours, Southwood Elementary and Metro North, and she was met with great enthusiasm.
“They were so excited. All three of the principals I contacted were like, ‘Yes, definitely. This is something that we need.’ They were very, very excited and they’ve all been so helpful,” said Wilson.
Wilson and volunteers pack approximately 420 grocery bags every week of the school year. That number is up from the 300 bags the program was filling in Wabash County last year. The grocery bags include items that are easy to prepare. Wilson purchases groceries from Bechtol’s Grocery, but also from food banks around the area. Items like granola bars, juice boxes, Mac and cheese, oatmeal and fruit are added to the bags every week.
“The food we get is amazing. We get apples and oranges that are beautiful,” said Wilson.
This year, Wilson has been able to stockpile food because Kirtlan Automotive has donated their warehouse for Blessings in a Backpack’s use. Wilson is able to store food and pick up whatever is needed on a weekly basis to fill the bags.
Blessings in a Backpack meets every Thursday evening at Trinity Lutheran Church at 6 p.m. to pack bags. Depending on the number of volunteers, packing usually only takes about an hour. Wilson has everything so organized on tables, that it has become an assembly line of groceries.
“We have it so down pat with our system. It’s in and out. The more volunteers the better,” said Wilson.
Blessings in a Backpack is also looking for volunteers to help deliver the bags to the schools on Friday mornings.
“It’s not something that people are aware of, but I feel like more and more people are understanding what we do and who we serve. I just had a bus driver stop me at the school. She said there’s a little boy on her bus who gets on every single day and he asks her, ‘Is this the day I’m going to have food in my house?’ It’s definitely needed. It only takes $80 to feed a child for the whole school year,” added Wilson.
Blessings in a Backpack is funded through the community. They hold a golf outing in July and sell tenderloins in June. The United Fund supports the program, and it recently received a grant from the First United Methodist Church.
This program is not something Wilson believes she could do alone.
“Steve and Pat Brubaker have been amazing help to me. They set up for me each Wednesday and they do a lot of behind-the-scenes work that nobody really knows about. I couldn’t do it without them. I also want to thank Mike Bechtol, Kirtlan Automotive, and everyone who has donated,” Wilson told The Paper.
If you are interested in volunteering or donating to Blessings in a Backpack, contact Jenny Wilson at 260-571-4001. Again, Blessings in a Backpack meets every Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Wabash. If you are interested in donating, you can send checks to Wilson at 499 S 475 W, Wabash, IN 46992. Checks can be made out to Blessings in a Backpack.
“All the money that is donated stays in our county, so every single cent that our community donates stays in our local schools,” said Wilson.