North grad wins $100k prize

North Montgomery graduate and IUPUI sophomore Wesley Boone liked Dr. Pepper before Saturday. Now he has 100,000 reasons to love the popular soda drink even more.

Saturday, on national television, Boone participated in the Dr. Pepper Tuition Challenge and claimed the prize money by throwing footballs into an over-sized Dr. Pepper can replica. The event took place at halftime of the Atlantic Coast Conference football game.

“It was kinda crazy,” Boone said. “I don’t even remember everything I said when I got interviewed on television,” Boone said. “Everything happened so fast. It was a whirlwind.”

Boone said the money will pay for his education at college and expects to have some left. Dr. Pepper officials told Boone that after he graduates from college he will get to keep any amount that is left. 

The philanthropy major knows what he will do with the extra cash. He is the founder and director of Gear Going Global, an organization he started while a student at North Montgomery High School. He collects new and used sports equipment and sends it to poor children throughout the United States and developing countries. He plans on making Gear Going Global his full-time job after college.

“What this means is that I do not have to worry about college tuition and I can concentrate even more on Gear Going Global,” Boone said. “Not having to worry about student loans is going to allow me to do more with Gear Going Global.”

Boone applied for the contest a few months ago. Dr. Pepper asked for contestants to get 50 votes on a Facebook page. Then he had to send a one minute video to Dr. Pepper explaining what the money would mean to his life.

“I just told them about Gear Going Global and that my money would go to help people all over the United States and the world,” Boone explained. “They contacted me three weeks ago to let me know I was one of 16 finalists.”

Boone was told he would participate in the contest at the ACC championship game. With Dr. Pepper paying 100 percent of the trip, Boone had to advance out of a preliminary round Friday. When all four contestants had competed, he was second behind first-place Alex Parsons of Wisconsin. Boone threw 15 footballs into the target while Parsons had 16 scores.

During the game, Boone said he did not get nervous even though the challenge would take place in front of 70,000 football fans and a nationally televised audience.

“I think being a wrestler helped me not to be nervous,” Boone said. “Being on the mat all by yourself and being the center of attention really helped me concentrate on throwing the footballs.”

After Boone handed his phone over to his step-father and North Montgomery High School principal Michael Cox, he calmly made 18 footballs into the Dr. Pepper can. His opponent only recorded 13 scores. Boone immediately became the center of attention on social media. 

“I gave my phone to dad because I had not practiced with it in my pocket,” Boone said. “I am glad I did because as soon as I won my phone blew up with messages from friends on my social media accounts and text messages from friends.”

Parsons, who is a student at Wisconsin La Cross University did not go home empty-handed. Dr. Pepper presented him with $20,000 for tuition.

Boone said he and Parsons had some things in common. Both were high school athletes who participated in soccer, wrestling and track and field. Boone was the place kicker for the Chargers his senior year of high school.

Boone and his family returned to Indianapolis Sunday. He still is receiving a lot of attention and is being invited to appear on local television stations. 

Again, Boone is not bothered by the attention.

“All of this can help me get the word out about my passion, Gear Going Global,” Boone said. “I love Dr. Pepper.”

Public invited to vendor showcase

Wellbrooke of Crawfordsville is inviting the community to join residents for a day of Christmas shopping inside its facility on Saturday.

The third annual vendor showcase will be held at Wellbrooke from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday.


“It’s just a really good way for us to get involved with the community and have people come in to see our facility and the residents,” said Life Enrichment Director Alisha Hauk.

The confirmed vendors include: Mary Kay, Scentsy, Avon, Thirty-One, Young Living Oils, Paula’s Craft & Crochet and Pampered Chef and Advocare.

Booths will be set up inside Wellbrooke, which also gives residents a way to shop for Christmas gifts with and for their families.

“Some of them can’t get out necessarily,” Hauk said, “so we want to bring things to them, and this is one way of us doing that.”

Wellbrooke uses the vendor showcase to give its residents, the vendors and the community a time of outreach and interaction. Besides crossing off items from shopping lists, one of the goals of the event is to allow those outside Wellbrooke to see what goes on inside the facility on a daily basis.

Throughout the showcase, anyone interested can join the residents in their normal Saturday activities, which include exercise, anagrams and a group game called “Pass the Pig.” 

“We want people to see we’re not the typical nursing facility,” Hauk said. “We go above and beyond, just so we know our residents are taken care of. We’re reaching out to them and keeping them involved in the community.”

During the event, Hillsboro Church of the Nazarene’s children’s Christmas program will be performed for the residents and anyone who would like to watch. Baskets will also be available for Silent Auction with proceeds benefiting Trilogy Health Services’ Hope for the Holidays Fundraiser.

A full list of vendors who will be set up at the showcase is available on Wellbrooke’s Facebook page.

Wellbrooke of Crawfordsville is located at 517 Concord Road.

An Old World Christmas

The Linden Depot Museum Christmas Open House is off to a great start. Attendance is hitting record numbers with people wanting to see the Old World Christmas Market, which is modeled after the street markets in Europe during the Advent season.

“We have been having wonderful attendance this year,” museum president Gary Vierk said. “People have been coming in and are really enjoying our old world market and the circus exhibit in the Annex.”

The museum’s tradition of providing a Christmas-themed gift ornament for a $10 donation has also been popular. This year’s ornament is hand-blown and available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Visitors are also finding other Christmas gifts for larger donations, which is a new feature this season. From music boxes to snow village buildings, the donor has a nice selection of gifts to choose from.

Museum Vice President Elizabeth Hendrickson said the popular item to date has been Christmas decorations shaped like an egg for $20. For $50, a Snow Village brand Christmas building is available. The Snow Village brand will retail for more than the donation amount from retailers.

“This is the first year we have different levels of donations and the different free gifts depending on the size of the donation,” Hendrickson said.

The Old World markets have been recreated in the Nickel Plate baggage room at the depot.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Jan. 3. Because Christmas falls on a Friday this year, Christmas weekend is the one exception, when the museum will be open Dec. 26-28. There is no fee to visit the museum during the open house.

Vierk is also pleased with the positive comments he is receiving from visitors. The president has been working on two on-going projects and recently has made great progress on a circus display. The Annex also houses a large H.O.-scale model railroad with four operating trains, including a circus train, an animated carnival, and mountain and tunnel scenery.

The museum is located at 520 N. Main St. (U.S. 231), Linden. There are two buildings in the museum complex. In addition to the Old World Christmas Market, the original Linden Depot building, built in 1908, houses a large display of railroad memorabilia, including artifacts from the Monon and Nickel Plate Railroads, which it was built to serve. There is also a museum store, well-stocked with plenty of train-related books, gifts and toys for people of all ages.

The Linden Depot Museum is a not-for profit museum operated by an all-volunteer staff. All donations go directly toward museum maintenance, acquisitions and projects. Two thousand people visit the museum during the annual Christmas open house each year.

Visit www.LindenDepotMuseum.org; call 765-427-3630; or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

A special night for a lifelong fight

The holiday season is often seen as a time for giving and for selflessness.

But for those affected by cancer, who have already given so much of themselves in their personal fights, Journey of Hope of Montgomery County will host a night of pampering for them to focus on themselves--and not cancer.


The first ever “Ladies First” event will be offered for free at The HUB from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12.

“It’s a time to pamper our cancer patients, our survivors and even their caregivers,” said Sandy Neal, co-founder of Journey of Hope.

Guests will be treated to massages, nail polish rejuvenation and steamed facials by Merle Norman. Mary Kay and Essentials Oils will be set up at the event, as well as a representative from Hairloom, who will have a wig display with demonstrations.

“Being a breast cancer survivor myself,” Neal said, “I found that, a lot of days, I just didn’t feel pretty. I didn’t feel good about myself. When you’re walking around the house and you have no hair--because it also takes it from your eyebrows and your eyelashes--it just would’ve been nice to go somewhere like this, where you can learn tricks of the trade and make yourself feel pretty.”

Mayor Todd Barton will declare December 12 as “Ladies First Day” to rally the community behind each and every local cancer fighter, survivor and caregiver.

“On behalf of the people of Crawfordsville,” Barton proclaimed, “I salute all cancer survivors, their caregivers and Journey of Hope-Cancer Care Ministry of Montgomery County for their efforts in organizing this event.”

Journey of Hope is a cancer support group that has been meeting once a month since February.

When Neal and Mark Roberts, pastor at Crossroads Community Church of the Nazarene, were diagnosed with cancer, they realized there was no local group for them to lean on. So after receiving training from the Cancer Centers of America, they started their own.

“Cancer survivors are running this group,” Neal said. “We are offering a service we wish we would’ve had in our community when we were going through it.”

Neal realizes some people may not feel ready to commit to a support group, so the “Ladies First” event is an easier way to meet people in a hopefully less intimidating setting. 

“I hope they come just for the basic camaraderie with other survivors and patients to help them feel like they’re not alone in this struggle,” Neal said. “There are other people out there who are going through this or have been through it.”

Although the event--and the entire day--has the “Ladies First” title, men are also invited to receive services like the massages.

Any cancer survivor, patient or caregiver interested in attending the “Ladies First” event simply needs to show up. There is no registration required.

Local company helps students read

Students at Lester B. Sommer Elementary School received an early Christmas present Tuesday. 

Representative from Penguin Random House had a book give-away at the school. Each student and staff member went home with a brand new book. The first-time event is part of the company’s new reading literacy initiative.

“This is all about giving books away,” said Penguin Random House Vice President of Operations Lori Dereza. “We want to give away as many books as possible.”

Dereza said the event is fun for her and those employees distributing the books.

“This is a fun way to get out of the office and see the little ones,” Dereza said. “They have been very polite and excited about getting a new book.”

Sommer Principal Suzi Gephart said the company has been a good corporate sponsor and has helped the school many times.

“This time it is even more special because it is right before Christmas,” she said.

Gephart added that the event boosts the school’s

focus on reading.

“One of our school improvement areas is reading,” Gephart said. “Anytime we can get a book into the hands of a student it is a great thing.”

Penguin Random House has a special project under way using the hashtag #GiveaBook. For every use of the hasthtag on Twitter and posts to GiveaBook, Penguin Random House and Givington Pages on Facebook, the company will donate one book to the literacy nonprofit First Book. The goal is to give away 35,000 books. The company has set Christmas Eve as the deadline

for the project.

PRH is also running similar book give-a-ways at a college in New York and in front of their corporate office in Westminster, Maryland.

“Our company sells books and we give away a lot of books,” Dereza said. “We are hoping to give more books away next year as we rotate schools.”

A total of 270 students and 48 staff members received books Tuesday. Extra books were also donated to the school’s library.