published: Friday, July 13, 2012
Family Fun Dinner to benefit Dennis Heston
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Dennis and Brenda Heston are a local couple that has spent countless hours giving back to the community through their faith and hard work. The couple has recently been dealt a huge blow with the discovery of Dennis' stage 4 cancer diagnosis, which has left the couple facing tremendous difficulties and trials.
In early June, Heston made a trip to the Veteran's Affairs (VA) Clinic after his leg began to swell. Heston was advised to visit the St. Petersburg VA Hospital after his initial visit to the local VA Clinic.
"He was not only diagnosed with blood clots (they were taken care of) but also stage 4 cancer that has metastasized. The economy had already negatively affected their business and now the cancer has devastated it," said Youth for Christ and friend Debbie Lees.
With the couple's new financial struggles, groups of faithful servants began to set in motion a fundraiser to benefit the couple in their time of need.
"Prayer didn't seem enough," Lees stated.
The "Friends of Dennis" group has gone above and beyond to help the lifetime Highlands County residents as they face extraordinary challenges. Several local churches - Wings of Faith, Union Congregational Church, Crossroads Community Church, Crossroads Fellowship Church and Winter Haven Church of God - have come together to create the Family Fun Dinner with Praise and Worship.
The dinner is a traditional dinner in which local churches and businesses work together to raise funds for the couple's expenses.
"The generosity of this community is incredible. We have fabulous items to raffle off and everyone has worked together through faith to help them," Lees said.
The Hestons are a well-known and loved family throughout the community, and bringing people together in support of them was the easy part.
"The Heston family has been an active and vital part of this community for their entire lives. Whether it is providing as a business of integrity for consumers to trust, taking in an unwed mother in need of love and shelter, or simply opening their home for church baptisms, they have continually served others around them. It is a delight to see how everyone is rallying together to encourage them in their time of need," stated pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Avon Park, John Dumas.
The Family Fun Dinner will be held at the Highlands County Fair Convention Center parking lot from 4-8 p.m. today.
Taylor Rental and Union Congregational Church have donated large tents for the event to provide shade and protection for guests. The dinner will take place rain or shine. Plates are $10 and include 1/4 chicken, baked beans, cole slaw, dinner roll and ice tea. Bounce houses, face painting and music will also be provided.
Tickets may be purchased in advance at Crossroads Community Church, 114 S. Central Ave., Avon Park; Dutcher's Diner, 1012 W. Main St., Avon Park; South Ridge Abstract & Tile, 229 S. Commerce Ave. Sebring; Brewster's Coffee House, 2191 US 27 N, Sebring; and South Ridge Abstract & Tile, 203 N. Main Ave., Lake Placid.
Brenda Heston commented on the work that has been done to benefit her husband and their family.
"I'd like to express our gratitude to all involved in giving and fund raising during this very difficult time. My family is overwhelmed by the show of support from our community. We are deeply touched and feel extremely blessed to be a part of it. We remain hopeful for a positive outcome and give thanks to God for holding us in His loving care."
A second benefit has been set up to help the Heston Family. A four-person scramble at Golf Hammock and Country Club will be held on July 28. Registrations must be turned in at the Pro Shop by July 25. For more information about the scramble, call 381-2151.
Heston has just completed two weeks of radiation to shrink the tumor in his lung and is slowly recovering. Chemotherapy will begin on Monday at the VA Hospital in St. Petersburg.
Corrections (by: Debbie - 7/14/2012)
A few typos! Highlands Community Church, Pastor Bruce Linhart and a number of his congregation provided labor. Also, the Heston's have been a part of a group of about 20 churches.
More church's (by: Debbie - 7/13/2012)
We forget to also mention Covenant Presbyterian Church and Highlans Conmunity Church also provided support! The Heston's have bed part of a group of about 20 churches who have been praying together in Community Wide Prayer vigils. We have been praying for church unity, families, school system, government and business's in our county! And now they were the recipients of the prayers as there was great interdenominational unity! This event was put on with only two weeks planning!
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