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 Eric Stearley
More than 30 supporters including the mayor, the county veterans services officer, and a representative for Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, gathered at American Legion Post 15 in downtown Wabash on Tuesday, Nov. 26 for a ceremony to dedicate the county’s new Disabled American Veterans van. The DAV van serves disabled veterans by providing a free means of transportation to medical appointments at VA hospitals and VA approved locations.
Three years ago, Herb Mullen, Wabash County coordinator for the DAV, brought the van program to Wabash County after volunteering as a driver in Marion since 2009. In the spring of 2011, it became apparent that the loaner van they had been using would not last many more years. He set up a savings account and began raising funds for a new van.
“We decided early on that we were not going to ask the county, the state, or the feds for any money,” said Mullen during the dedication. “We figured that we’re pretty important, but we also figured that we had a responsibility to the county to not become a drag upon public funds.”
With the help of Bob Brown, Mullen organized two newsletter fundraising drives, soliciting funds through the mail. Recipients responded with donations ranging from $5 to $500. They also held a forget-me-not drive outside Wal-Mart, raising $1,600 in a single day, 8 percent of the total needed for the van.
On Friday, Nov. 22, Mullen got his hands on the van for which he and the other contributors had waited the past two and a half years. It was a sparkling new 2013 Ford Flex clad in DAV logos and the names of the programs major contributors. The van hauled a patient back from Marion that same day.
“Wabash County veterans salute and thank you for our new ride.” Mullen said to the contributors present at the dedication. “Those of you who are veterans, if you need a ride someday, we’d be more than happy to give you one.”
That’s exactly what the van does. Its entire purpose is to be driven by one of Wabash County’s four volunteer drivers to the residence of disabled veterans, take them to their scheduled doctors appointments and bring them home safely. The program’s only restrictions are that veterans can only be taken to VA hospitals or VA approved locations, and the veterans have to be able to get in and out of the van on their own power or that of their family. The van will take even a single veteran as far as Indianapolis and back for an appointment.
Mayor Vanlandingham spoke at the dedication, likening the fundraising campaign to a mission, with which the veterans present were all to familiar.
“It’s great to see the community coming together for a mission, You’ve had a very successful mission, and the other thing you learn when you go through this and you get done, is that you take care of your buddies,” said Mayor Vanlandingham. “This is going to be a great service to the community and a great service to our veterans.”
“This new DAV van continues to represent the ongoing need and support that veterans require here in our county,” said Wabash County Veterans Service Officer Cameron Lochner. “This ceremony should serve as a reminder to all of Wabash County that our veterans rare a most valuable treasure that deserves recognition and safe keeping. Calvin Coolidge once said, ‘the nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.’ It is my hope that our county will continue to grow in its support for the welfare and wellbeing of its veterans and that the dedication of this new DAV van marks only a beginning.”
Mullen is always looking for disabled veterans in need of transportation. He is also looking for volunteer drivers. Drivers are considered “non-compensated employees” by the VA, which protects them in the case of an accident.
Anyone in need of transportation to a medical appointment or interested in being trained as a DAV driver can call Herb Mullen at 260-571-4744.