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Guest column/Many helped with benefit for Justin Cummings

March 10, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

A benefit dance was held for Justin Cummings on Feb. 17 that was attended by between 500 and 600 people. I was one of the organizers. It was an extraordinary night, and the list of people to thank is endless, but I am going to try anyway.

First, let me thank Julie Roar, who came up with the idea of the dance, its slogan "Hearts and Prayers" and had the signs made for the event, courtesy of Signs America and Off the Wall Signs. She also organized the decorating of the Mingo Knights of Columbus Hall, which hosted the event. The decorating committee was Tammy Spence, Tiffany Conner and Lisa Fithen. They did an amazing job.

Next, let me thank our amazing committee, Greg and Teresa Rea, Susie and Millie Huggins and Kim Crugnale for their ideas, time and efforts. Without them, we would not have been able to put this together. I cannot thank you all enough. I also want to thank the people who worked for us this night, including Big Jags and Loretta Huggins for working the prize table, which had the golf clubs, automotive basket, iPad and Steelers-Browns tickets. Also, a big thanks to Millie Huggins and Heather Hoffman for working the cookie table, overseeing literally thousands of cookies. Big thanks to Greg and Teresa Rea for working the Chinese auction table.

Big thanks to Erin Wilson and Phyllis Ryan, our bartenders, and Michael Potenzini, who also helped. Thanks to Ed Wilson and Paul Ryan for doing the 50-50 ticket sale, and to Susie Huggins and Kim Crugnale for working the entrance table. Thanks to April Winfield and Carla Sweeney for selling Gold Canyon candles for the benefit, and to Alicia Castner for selling the J.C. bracelets. Big thanks to Matt Stone for having the J.C. computer picture montage at this table, and to Ray Johnson of Ohio Catering for the food. Thanks to the pizza places that donated, including Mingo Downtown Pizza, Malta's Pizza, Papa John's, Domino's and Bruno's. Thanks to Jeff Wajda and King's Family Restaurant for the food they donated, to Mickey Nest for being a runner, and to Ed "Spud" Fithen of Spud's Parkview Inn, David Conner of Superior Beverages, Anthony Simmons of Twine's Belleview Lunch, the Shutzen Club and Chappano's Market for providing beer for the event. Big thanks to John "Wiz" Fabian, who donated the funds to pay for the hall rental, John Wright for donating funds to cover the sound costs and John and Lisa Young for taking care of the coat checks. Also, thanks to Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla and sheriff's Deputy Carl Brozka for providing security.

Thanks to the people who donated major prizes, including Charlie Corder of Spring Hills Golf Club, who donated an entire set of Taylor Made golf clubs and bag; Michelle Martello, Kim Crugnale and Susie Huggins for donating the iPad; Drs. Charn Nandra and Maninder Bedi for donating a 32-inch Vizio plasma television; Todd Shrieve, who was able to get us two Steelers-Browns club box seats; Cris Creamer, who donated a Notre Dame helmet along with an autographed picture of Jerome Bettis and Manti Teo; the Target Shop, which donated an Indian Creek clothing basket and a letterman's jacket basket; Kelly Casey-Bailey, who donated a Miche purse basket; and automotive basket donations from Billy Ellis of Sunset Volkswagen, Rex Lancaster of Lytle's Auto, Skyler Roth of Team Ford, Matt Allietta of Allietta Ford, Wal-Mart, Mingo Auto Parts, Expert Tire, Precision Lube and Advance Auto.

I want to thank our entertainment for the evening, including the sound guys Woody and Mike Taylor. Also, thanks to our disc jockey, Rico Rocks, for volunteering his time and music; to Jodi and Tom Fitzgerald for the use of their light show; to Brett Cain, who got us off to a great start with his music and singing; to Spinning Jenny, Johnny Balzano and his very talented daughters; U.S. Kids, who continue to rock us; and Johnny, Bobby, Carlo and their crew.

Thanks to Christina DiCarlo for taking pictures through the evening and to Lisa Mort, the videographer.

There are way too many people to thank who donated to the Chinese auction, but I was overwhelmed by with prizes, some even coming the day of the event. I thank every person or business who donated.

Also, thanks to everyone who baked and donated cookies for the event - Ronnette Quinn donated 35 dozen cookies.

Finally, I want to thank the wonderful people of the Ohio Valley who came out to our event and helped us raise more than $16,000. It was an extraordinary success, and I am proud to say that the people of our communities have stepped up, not only for this event, but for all the other events that have been held. Thank you for opening your hearts and your wallets in this time of great need for Justin; his mom, Lisa; and his sister, Cheyenne.

The next endeavor is finding a handicap-accessible van. If you can help, feel free to contact me.

(Huggins is a resident of Mingo Junction)

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