May 10--SPENCERVILLE -- Gavin Bruce, son of James Bruce, of Spencerville, and Sandy Shoemaker, of Shelbyville, Kentucky, has created a touching sculpture, "Gabriel's Hope," that stands in the children's section of King's Island Amusement Park. Bruce is a 1994 graduate of Spencerville High School.
After about 10 years of mortgage banking, Bruce found his passion in art. He took art classes at OSU-Lima.
"They hit a spark," Bruce said.
He obtained a scholarship to attend Columbus College of Art and Design, and will be a senior next year.
"Gabriel's Hope" was commissioned by A Kid Again, a not-for-profit organization that helps children with life-threatening illnesses and their families by providing fun adventures for them. This statue was donated to King's Island on Friday, as a thank-you for more than 50,000 tickets and ongoing support King's Island has offered.
"This is a great organization. I volunteer for them whenever I can," Bruce said.
The model for the statue was Gabriel Taylor, who died in December 2011 at the age of 6 after an almost two-year battle with osteosarcoma (a bone cancer). Gabriel is described by his parents as having always been happy no matter where he was. He was determined to find the best in every situation and make people smile.
Bruce had the chance to meet Gabriel's parents, Rhonda and Jeremy Taylor, and had an instant bond with Gabriel's mother.
"She and I have created a bond that I cannot explain. We hugged and just didn't want to let go. There is something there," Bruce said.
If you would like to mail a donation to A Kid Again, make your checks payable to A Kid Again and mail to the Greater Dayton Chapter: 9600 Montgomery Road, Lower Level Suite 4, Cincinnati, OH 45242, or call toll free 800-543-9735 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
More of Bruce's artwork can be found at http:/GavinBruceCreative.com.
Auxiliary recognizes first baby born on anniversary
FORT RECOVERY -- To celebrate Joint Township District Memorial Hospital's 61st anniversary, the auxiliary presented a gift basket to Stacy and Matt Lochtefeld, of Fort Recovery, for the birth of their daughter Alaina Joy Lochtefeld. Alaina was the first baby born on the hospital's 61st anniversary.
Dedicated in May 1953 to the memory of area servicemen serving in World War II, Joint Township District Memorial Hospital began as a 50-bed hospital.
For information about becoming an auxiliary member, contact Julie Jacobs, volunteer development coordinator at 419-394-3335, ext. 2808.
Landen's Run raises $5,400 for SIDS Awareness
ST. MARYS -- Joey and Jessica Phlipot lost their son Landen to sudden infant death syndrome. The family channeled their grief to create awareness of SIDS in their community.They held paintball tournaments and other efforts to raise money for The Healthy Baby Fund. This fund provides support for education about SIDS and provides a HALO SleepSack for every infant born at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital. The HALO SleepSack is intended to promote safer sleep by swaddling an infant tightly and regulating his or her temperature.
On May 3, the first Landen's Run took place. Tracy Smith was chairman of the Landen's Run committee. May 3 was also Landen's birthday.
The 5K run/walk had 110 runner and walkers attending in support of raising awareness about SIDS. Some $5,400 was raised. Proceeds from the event will go to the Landen Phlipot Healthy Baby Fund to further educate parents and the community about SIDS.
Bark for Life yields more than $700 for cancer
LIMA -- Team Cheryl's Hope of the Relay for Life of Lima and Allen County held the second annual family dog walk, Bark for Life at Faurot Park on May 3. More than $700 was raised to benefit cancer patients in the area.
Cheryl Fisher, of Lima, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer 10 years ago.
"It was stage 4, and had already spread to my liver. They didn't have high expectations for me. Dr. Powell is now my medical hero," Fisher said.
Four years ago, Cheryl's family formed Team Cheryl's Hope, and they have been active in raising money for cancer since.
Her daughter, Sarah Smith, works at Elida Dog Grooming and together with her mother helped initiate the Bark for Life event.
"We saw online that other cities had held this [Bark for Life], and that gave us a lot of good contacts," she said.
Many breeds of dogs were represented, in every size.
Door prizes were awarded, as well as a $25 gift card to PetSmart, which was awarded to the best dressed dog, a dachshund named Polly, who was dressed in a hot dog bun costume. Her owner is Rachel Davis.
Local DJ Phil Austin was the emcee for the three-hour event. Cridersville veterinarian, Adam Ferguson, from Baker Animal Hospital was present with his staff of five assistants.
"Last year we had 24 to 25 dogs. This year there were more than 30 dogs there. Some were from the rescue agency, Open Hearts Bully Rescue, of Elida, which rescues mainly Pit Bulls," Fisher said.
Each family received a gift bag with organic dog treats donated by Allison Bowersock, of Wapakoneta, a $10 gift card for use at 4 Seasons Car Wash, which also has two pet wash bays, a Bark For Life bandanna for each dog, a paw print pin for the owner and a Bark for Life key ring.
St. Marys resident publishes novel
ST. MARYS -- Chris Botkin, of St. Marys, has written a novel, "Water Music."
Botkin's book is the quest of a man following one drop of water on its journey to the ocean in a land where humans have evolved to the point they can download data to their brain, conquer death and have answered all the mysteries of science. It has telepathy, a birth and words in foreign languages that the reader will probably have to look up in the glossary included in the book.
Botkin will share his book at 7 p.m.June 5 at St. Marys Community Public Library.
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