MOUNT UNION Residents of Mount Union dedicated their time, money and spirit of generosity in a three-day fundraising campaign over the weekend to help an optimistic group of youth they call the Fab Five, each of whom suffers from an illness.
On Friday night, members of Mount Union High School's National Honor Society, under the direction of local educator Nancy Corson, and local nonprofit organization Planet LoveJoy arranged a Rock-a-Thon evening hosted at the Bricktown Senior Center.
From 7 to 11 p.m., participants rocked the night away in rocking chairs. During the course of the evening, the volunteers took time to create their own version of one of the Internet's most viral videos in recent years, "The Harlem Shake." Access to the video will soon be available on Planet LoveJoy's YouTube page.
Photo submitted by PAMELA?CROUSE
Two of the Fab Five, Destiny Devlin and Kristy Bookwalter present a trophy to members of team ‘We Cancervive’ for winning Planet Lovejoy’s dodgeball tournament Saturday at Mount Union High School. Pictured are: from left, kneeling, team members Stana Stewart and Renae Suchan; back, Planet LoveJoy volunteers Gretchen Crouse, Kelly Hicks, Jeremy Crouse and Doug Hicks; team members Troy Nembtch and Brenton Park; Devlin; team member Tom Huff; Bookwalter; and team members Justin Snyder, Jimmy Smith, Derek Jabco, Cody Hollighbaugh and Cole Boozel.
The event raised $2,680 to help the families of the Fab Five, which consists of Cynthia Fagan, age 6, Wade Stains, 13, Jazzlene Inch, 3, Destiny Devlin, 13, and Kristy Bookwalter, 16, pay for medical bills and other necessities.
In addition to the Rock-a-Thon on Friday, two local businesses, Bricktown Tax Service and Mutual Benefit Group, raised money by dressing down and wearing "jammies" to work in honor of Fab Five member Jazzy Inch, at the suggestion of local resident Toni Forshey. In total, the businesses made $373.35.
On Saturday, Planet LoveJoy, Mount Union Fire Department and the National Honor Society hosted a dodgeball tournament at Mount Union Area High School to raise money for the Fab Five and an additional child in need. In total, more than 20 teams registered - at $100 per team - for the event. The proceeds from team registration, plus $980 for a bake sale went to Zahne-Settlemyer, daughter of Mount Union resident, Nick Rogers. Donations were accepted at the door as well. In total, the event raised $3,260.
On Sunday evening, the local group Potter's Band, made up of Paul Veitch, Patti Barben Veitch, Tom Sheeder, Jessica Dimoff Querry, Stefanie Drobnock, Carl Naple, Greg Foster, Nancy Corson and soundman Christ Querry, performed during a musical Lenten service at Mount Union First United Methodist Church. A love offering of $310 was collected for the Fab Five.
Between the funds raised from the events and donations given directly to the cause, the groups raised a total of $6,623.35.
Jeremy Crouse, co-founder of Planet LoveJoy, announced that the group will be mentoring a graduation project for Mount Union seniors, Maggie Wilson and Delaney Rodey, and will host a benefit dance on April 19 to raise additional money for the Fab Five.
In addition to helping individuals who are struggling, Planet LoveJoy's next major undertaking will be the second annual "Mount Unity Day." Scheduled to occur May 3 through May 5, the group will volunteer to spend time cleaning up and beautifying the town they have always called home.
To volunteer at Planet LoveJoy, contact Jeremy Crouse at (814) 386-3936 or find the group on Facebook.