Community supporting Cops For Kids
Hundreds of parents, children, police, firefighters and friends went to Rock Creek Park on Saturday to support the Cops for Kids program that raised more money than last year.
While it was "the kids and the cause" that attracted Randy Crosslin and his children, daughter Shelby and son Hayes who liked climbing the rock wall, the dunk tank attracted a great deal of attention when Police Chief Chuck Forbis sat on the hinged seat above a big barrel of water.
He didn't sit there very long.
Forbis got wet when the first ball thrown hit the target.
"I used to play softball here in Lewisburg for Sanford and the high school," 19-year-old Kaitlyn Kruher of Lewisburg explained. "I was a pitcher for Sanford," the pencil factory that's closing here.
Forbis had been saying he was more concerned about the youngsters' ability to throw a ball at the target.
Cost also had something to do with it. Kids threw for free. Adults had to pay $1. Attorneys were charged $10. Forbis agreed to sit above the water for 10 minutes if doing so would raise $500 for the cause.
Morgan Eady of Foxboro Drive reportedly donated the dollar that took the collection from $499 to $500.
"I'm killing Mom," the 10-year-old replied when asked about donating the last $1.
"Because Mom put the dollar in the bucket," Morgan said.
Her mother, Alissa Kruger, is the supervisor at the Police Department and, as such, she works with Forbis all the time.
Kaitlyn is also Alissa's daughter.
"I can't believe they're doing this to me," Alissa said. "I'm going to get fired."
"Of course not," Forbis said when asked if Alissa's job was on the line.
Police Officer John Christmas, Councilor Quinn Brandon and others were dunked so frequently that Lewisburg Fire Capt. Steve Anderson and Firefighter Toby Adams had to add water to the dunk tank while Forbis splashed around.
"He looked hot," the pitcher said. "He needed cooling down."
Forbis was in long pants and a police crew shirt.
He was also wearing a wrist watch -- a diver's watch that's waterproof down to 6,000 feet underwater. While Forbis hasn't been that deep underwater, he is a certified SCUBA diver and "used to dive a lot in Florida" where he was a commander for a division of the Sarasota Sheriff's Department.
Lee and Lori Derryberry's 9-year-old son, Nathan, also hit that mark to make Forbis fall.
"We also had a good time dunking John Christmas this morning," said Nathan who was recently a pitcher for the Marshall County All Stars team for his age group.
The Cops 4 Kids Festival included much more than the dunking tank and rock wall. Three big inflated playgrounds were up and running kids attached to elastic band to resist their race for a goal, as well as providing an air cushion for their landing at the bottom of a tall and steep slide. A third inflatable offered a circular running track in a big top circus-like carousel-looking thing.
Last year's festival raised $6,000, according to Dawn Christmas. That money was used to take 62 children to the store for a Christmas that probably wouldn't be available for those youngsters who are less fortunate than most.
The amount of money raised this year was $9,000, according to one early estimate.
The event also included hot-dogs, hamburgers, drinks, chips, brownies, a silent auction, music and bikers.
Ed "Tug Boat" Miller of Lebanon is the chaplain for Bikers Against Child Abuse of Tennessee. He attended with BACA members Kevin Lerch of Lewisburg, Sandy "Buffalo" Herbert of Lebanon and her "baby-girl" daughter, "Snotty" Herbert whose nickname is a result of allergies or attitude, depending on who's talking.
BACA exists to befriend victims of child abuse. The group uses a four level deterrence program from presenting membership patches to being present as a protective barrier when their new friends are vulnerable. Occasionally, they'll appear in court to support accurate testimony on abuse.
Cops for Kids is more directed toward making Christmas a memorable experience for less fortunate children.
"It's great -- very well organized," City Attorney Bill Haywood said. "I love it. I brought my grandson, Cole, who's 8 and a student at Smyrna Elementary School."
For others, food was an attraction and Cheryl Cline of the First Assembly of God on the Ellington ByPass pointed visitors to the Farmers Market Pavilion where, she said, the barbecue was hand pulled by Christi and Roger Brown.