Last Updated on April 10, 2015 by cassnetwork
When most people celebrate their 40th birthday, they receive gag gifts and jabs about their age. For Kasia Bannon Minnick, turning 40 today, is a gift. More importantly, for Kasia, every day is a gift.
Eighteen months ago, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer which had metastasized to her liver. She was accepted into clinical trials at IU University Hospital in Indianapolis where aggressive treatment was started right away. A bout with the flu this past winter caused some setbacks and she was not able to withstand the effects of the chemo. There often comes a time when the treatment becomes more brutal than the cancer. That’s when the decision is made to concentrate on the quality of life…spending each day with your loved ones and making the best of the situation.
The daughter of a Vietnam veteran and school teachers Bob and Penny Bannon and the granddaughter of the late WWII veteran Sam Kitchel, there’s no doubt this patriotic upbringing fueled Kasia’s decision to become a Government teacher at her alma mater, Logansport High School, where she has taught since 1997. Each year her parents present a Memorial Scholarship in memory of their LHS classmates who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.
Kasia has also taught U.S. History and Psychology. As a teacher, her energy was always devoted to citizenship and love of country. She served as the Student Council sponsor for over 10 years. Kasia always helped coordinate and plan the annual Veterans Day program at LHS. She has taken several groups of students to the Presidential
Inaugural events over the years. Kasia has helped several of her EL students become American citizens after taking her class.
Over the past 18 months, Kasia along with her husband Dan and their children Mallory, Morgan and Matthew, have been overwhelmed with the love, prayers and support of family and friends, and the community at large. From the LHS Staff to the schools the Minnick children attend – Lewis Cass Jr.-Sr. High School and All Saints Elementary School – as well as their Webb Chapel U.M. family, area farmers, the 4-H and FFA community, the Minnick family has been on prayer lists near and far.
Sorority sisters in the Alpha Mu Chapter of Tri Kappa have also been quick to rally around their sister, Kasia. When Tri Kappa member Dawn Fisher visited Kasia at IU Med last week, she asked “What can we, as your Tri Kappa sisters, do to carry on your legacy? We want to grant you a wish.”
Kasia’s face beamed as she recalled a drive she took with her husband, Dan, when they went to get tractor parts.
“It was in the little town of Berne, Indiana. Their Veterans’ Park was beautiful. They had flags for each military branch, several American flags and park benches, “ she said. “I’m really glad the Roosters have placed the flags in the Veterans Freedom Park at 6th and Market…but I’d really like to see something there that speaks to children…to let
them know the importance of patriotism and honoring veterans.”
Using the key words, “American flag, children, bronze statue,” on a Google search, it didn’t take long for Dawn to find the perfect sculpture fit Kasia’s legacy to a “T.” And Kasia was amazed when she saw the artwork.
The Randolph Rose Collection is a family business in Yonkers, New York specializing in handmade bronze sculptures. Their statues are featured in military communities, parks, shopping centers and Veterans Memorials across the USA. This particular work of art, a 39″ x 61” x 81” patriotic bronze sculpture of a boy and girl climbing to the top of a mountain while proudly waving the American flag, is entitled “I Love My Country.” Because the sculpture would be purchased by Tri Kappa to be placed in a public park, the cost of casting the sculpture was reduced from $16,000.00 to $10,500.00.
In a week’s time, the project received the blessing of Tri Kappa’s officers and members to raise the money to grant Kasia’s wish. Dan Musselman chairs the Roosters’ committee to create and maintain the park. He received the go ahead from the Roosters’ membership to include the statue in their plans. A concrete pad will need to be installed for the foundation on which the 350 lb. sculture will be placed.
LMU Superintendent Paul Hartman was consulted as LMU has worked closely with the Roosters to create the Veterans Freedom Park on the old H.W. Gossard site owned by LMU. It will take 3-4 months to cast the bronze sculpture.
Now the fundraising begins. Tri Kappa was already set to host the 2nd annual “Late, Great Adult Egg Hunt” at the Cass County 4-H Fairgrounds at 8:30 p.m. this Friday for their scholarship fund. The fundraiser has now gained even more momentum as they will use the proceeds for both the scholarship fund and the purchase of the bronze sculpture to grant Kasia’s wish.
The night-time egg hunt is a fun event for BIG kids – high school age and adults only. Over 6,000 eggs will be hid in the fields west of the livestock barns.
Participants must BYOB (bring your own baskets) to hold their loot as well as flash-lights for this dusk to dark event. Many eggs will just hold candy, some will reveal coupons or gift cards from local businesses, yet other eggs will hold a slip of paper that can be exchanged for one of many prizes. Then, there are the 10 golden tickets.
A golden ticket enables the lucky recipient to draw a number for one of the top ten prizes which include Kindle Fox notebook, a TV, an Indiana Beach Family Pass, a family pass to Holiday World, YMCA month memberships and the list goes on.
“The weather forecast is clear for Friday night…a little chilly…and no doubt soggy in the field where the eggs will be hid…so dress appropriately,” said Jane Williams, co-chairman of the egg hunt. “Because of the heavy rains this week, egg hunters are asked to park on the east side of the fairgrounds – on high ground- in the gravel area.”
Entry wristbands may be purchased at the gate for $5. The gate will open at 7:30 p.m. and participants will be entertained by DJ Brandt Carmichael. At 8:30 p.m., Kohle Wildrick – the young accident-victim who benefitted from last year’s egg hunt fundraiser, now recovered from his injuries – will sound off the “Ready, Set, Go!” promptly at 8:30 p.m. A donation jar will be available for those wanting to just come and watch while still donating to the cause. Businesses and individuals wanting to add to the list of prizes or make a donation, may call Fisher at 574-753-6301.
SOURCE: News release from Alpha Mu Chapter of Tri Kappa Sorority