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Community spirit on display at Octoberfest

Oct. 14, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- There was a little something for everyone at the inaugural Octoberfest event Saturday at Gallaher Village Square.

The event was organized through the efforts of the Forest Hills Neighborhood Association and the Walnut Hills Action Team as a grand opening for Gallaher Village Square, which is a new community park built by the efforts of neighborhood organizations and residents.

The park is located along Norway Avenue in the old Gallaher Elementary School site in front of the Cabell County 911 Center.

The festival was an important event for the park, not only because it was a grand opening celebration, but also because it allowed residents and organizers to see how their hard work has paid off, said Dave Ball, who is a member of the Forest Hills Neighborhood Association and the park committee.

"We want the community to have something to be proud of and that they can take ownership of," Ball said. "It's a place they can come together and know that they had a hand in making this happen, and they can take pride in enjoying it in years to come."

The event included a street art festival for adults and children, in which street painting was encouraged, and free chair massages by Invidia Salon and Spa. The Huntington Fire Department got in on the action by bringing a fire engine to the lot of the 911 Center for children to explore.

The profits from the event will be split between maintaining the park and a fund that is going to the family of a Cabell County 911 dispatcher whose daughter is being treated for leukemia at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Mike Tatum, assistant director of Cabell County 911, said the dispatcher's daughter, Meagan, is about halfway through her treatments, and the emergency services community is eager to support them in any way possible.

"People in West Virginia, we just have a way of taking care of our own people when we need each other," Tatum said. "Especially in this line of work, we are all family, and it's that bond that helps us take care of our family when the need us, no matter what the problem is."

Donations can be mailed to: Cabell County 911 Center, 129 Gallaher Street Huntington, WV 25705. Checks should be written to Director Mike Tatum, with a memo to "Meagan's Fund."

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