Local event raises awareness and funds for a cause that’s close to home
The first annual “Bring Our Children Home” event took place at Belton’s Hampton Inn last weekend.
Cherie Chandler-Newell, manager of the Hampton, came up with the idea for the two-day event. She has not personally experienced how it feels to have a missing child, but she has great compassion for those who have.
“I can’t even imagine every day you wake up and don’t know what happened to your child,” Chandler-Newell said.
This event offered free live music by local music groups, The Bucket Band and OverDrive. Other activities included a puppy pageant, raffles, cake walks, and a dunking tank.
Jeff Davis, Mayor of Belton, and Teresa Hensley, Cass County Prosecutor, came to speak to those gathered. Davis declared June as Missing Persons Awareness Month. Hensley reminded those present to practice caution and awareness in public places.
Members of the community were also involved every step of the way, giving time and donations to make the event a success.
“The community was really great about doing donations,” Chandler-Newell said.
All proceeds raised from the different activities went toward the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The event garnered over $1,000, and over 200 people attended.
Terry Mason, who helped Chandler-Newell with this event, has worked the last six years with the Find Kara campaign. Kara Kopetsky was last seen leaving Belton High School on May 4, 2007, and has been missing ever since.
“This event is something we have been needing for a long time,” Mason said.
OverDrive, a Raymore band, performed on Saturday night. The evening concluded at 10 PM with a candlelight vigil, during which OverDrive performed their first original song entitled “Coming Home.”