By Cassidy Pate, News Editor
Family and friends of Park Place Manor residents gathered on Saturday afternoon for the annual Family Day event. With a theme of country western, it was only fitting to have Belton’s own Leon River Band playing live country music in the background as the families caught up and made memories with one another.
Kyle Heitmiller, Lead Singer for the Leon River Band, volunteers at Park Place Manor often. This time, he was accompanied by two friends, also known as a portion of the Leon River Band: Vocalist Elizabeth Maybin sang harmonies and took the lead on a couple of songs, while Drummer Jerry Pate maintained the beat with his cajon, or box-shaped percussion instrument.
By playing classic, lighthearted songs, such as “Much Too Young” by Garth Brooks and Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” that struck a chord with guests and residents alike, the Leon River Band was able to win over the crowd in a way that made their heads sway.
Quality of Life Director at Park Place Manor Janice Tucker has served in this role for 18 years and said this event gets “better and better each year.”
“The families make it, but also we put an effort into it,” Tucker said. “And they love the music; the residents love to be sung to, and they like the food.”
The food is donated by Monty Reed, Owner of Park Place Manor, while the families are in charge of providing the desserts.
“It’s a very special event each year, and we get a lot of compliments on it,” Tucker said.
This year, about 100 guests dropped in to visit with their family members.
“We send out invitations and, like I said, some of them will come and stay a while and they have to go, but they at least come and eat with them and stuff, and that makes it special, a special event for the residents,” Tucker said. “Just seeing the families with the residents; they love their families, and they miss ‘em, and we love to see the smiles on their faces.”
On Nov. 8, Park Place Manor will be hosting a Fall Bazaar, and around Christmas time there is a party that families are welcome to attend as well.
“It’s a good place to work,” Tucker said. “I’ve worked in several, but this is one of the best; it’s home-owned, and it makes a difference.”