Today was national suicide prevention day, and folks in Centre County gathered to remember those who have left us too soon. Local organization Jana Marie Foundation hosted the event at Millbrook Marsh that featured artists of all mediums and the lighting of remembrance candles.
Rubber ducks floating down the creek, pressure bottle rockets flying through the air and the smell of delicious foods took over Coburn Park this afternoon. It was my first time at the park in the small rural community but was welcomed with the festivities of the day and the draw of local foods and involvement. Despite the off and on weather it was a successful and knowledgable event.
As I wondered through the tents from my car to the animal barns a came across the sunshine club singing and dancing for all to enjoy.
Next came my mission for the day. To spend time at the junior market beef show. Youngsters work all year on raising cattle to show in hopes of winning a ribbon and a monetary prize. Then the animals are sold, and as the announcer said, these cattle can fill your freezer…
Soon after I walked into the office this afternoon the scanner went off with a truck accident on 322. As soon as we heard the address I knew the location, a common curve in the road for accidents. I headed out in the dreary weather as driver of the truck was taken to the hospital and crews worked as quickly as possible to reopen the road.
I opted to get most of my photo from above on an overpass, rather than try to cross the highway into the median. I then went to a park path to get a new view with all the people observing from the same overpass. I knew being right on the scene was an option, but I decided safety, and an overall scene setter worked well for the afternoon.
Pomp and Circumstance seems to be on repeat in my brain this week as I covered four of our five county graduation ceremonies. Spread out over the week I covered Penns Valley, State College, Bellefonte and Bald Eagle Area and saw the popularity of “selfies” as someone on stage snapped one of themselves on stage with the class behind them.
Red, white and blue and veteran caps dotted the crowd gathered at the Pine Hall cemetery this afternoon for the annual Memorial Day service. Volunteers raised American flags throughout the cemetery as taps rung through the air on a bugle.
Then Sgt. Adam Hartswick stepped up to the mic to share his story. Adam recently celebrated his alive day, 1 year since he lost both of his legs over seas. He recalled the events that day, and the friends he watched perish ahead of him. He reminded the crowd to remember those who have been lost and never let their names be forgotten.
Each time I have the opportunity to photograph Adam I learn more of his story and the sacrifices he and many others have made to keep everyone in the States as safe as possible. Pause during the barbecues this weekend to say thank you to those lives that have been lost over the years.
Yesterday Centre County approved same sex marriage licenses. After a reporter made several trips to and from the office and the courthouse we finally got a hold of a couple. We got in contact with the very first couple to apply soon after the office announced the licenses were available.
Ascha and Rebecca were such a fun and happy couple and welcomed me into their home late at night after Rebecca finished work. They laughed and talked with each other in excitement of the day as I captured the love of their family with their young daughter. It was uplifting to photograph a piece of Centre County history for the LGBT community.
As I worked on something in the office this afternoon we received a tip on our facebook page about damage to a large local cemetery in Boalsburg. I headed there and was shocked to see that about 50 grave markers had been vandalized over night. Some dated back to the 1800′s and were broken in half. Others were uprooted from the ground, and some large ones tipped over. There was no one at the cemetery as I walked up and down the aisles photographing the damage. As soon as I posted an image on twitter the response was immense with many saddened by the vandalism.
THON is the biggest weekend in February for Penn Staters and Four Diamonds families across the region. But the fundraising efforts reach way beyond Penn State’s efforts and mini thons are popping up in schools everywhere. Tonight the State College Middle Schools hosted their dance marathon to raise money for families battling pediatric cancer. With several Four Diamond children among them the students danced and cheered to their own line dance and activities.
Asking for some hot chocolate and commenting how cold it was standing on the ice of Pegula Ice Arena, Penn State football coach James Franklin talked to a crowd of alumni and fans to kick off the Coaches Caravan. Franklin spoke after men’s soccer coach Bob Warmning talked about the growing popularity of the sport, and women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose gave some comic relief during the event that will travel around the region. Incoming Penn State president Eric Barron and his wife were even in attendance and mingled with attendees during the reception.