Beneath McQuinn’s edginess lived ‘a golden retriever’

Published: Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 3:23 PM
Updated: Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 3:23 PM


            
            Barbara J. Perenic
(Barbara J. Perenic)

Behind Matt McQuinn’s sunglasses, behind the edgy, pierced look he showed to the world was a man with a mischievous sense of humor and a golden retriever’s warmth, his uncle told a memorial service Saturday morning at Springfield’s Maiden Lane Church of God.

Pastor Herb Shaffer said his 27-year-old nephew called the oversized shades he pushed up on his head his “man tiara,” an anecdote that spoke about the person whose striking eyes and mugging demeanor have been seen on broadcasts and in newspapers since July 20, when McQuinn died saving his girlfriend from a slaughter in an Aurora, Colo., multiplex.

Steps away from her boyfriend’s edgily dressed body, Samantha Yowler, of St. Paris, rested her wounded leg on a chair during the ceremony that gave way to an 80-car procession to Lawrenceville Cemetery, where McQuinn was buried.

The Vandalia Butler High School graduate was killed by three gunshot wounds he suffered as he shielded Yowler during the attack that killed 12 and wounded 52.

“In moments of crisis, the true character of a person comes out,” said Shaffer, a brother of McQuinn’s mother, Jerri Jackson, of Springfield. “You don’t have time to think of what you’re going to do.”

McQuinn’s “immediate response,” said Shaffer, “was to protect the one he loved.”

Shaffer and Maiden Lane Pastor Mark Martin cast McQuinn’s self-sacrifice in context with two Biblical passages, one from Galatians saying the only things of lasting value involve “faith expressing itself in love” and another from the Gospel of John stating that “no greater love has one man than this: that he laid down his life for his friends.”

“We didn’t just see that (from McQuinn) on July 20,” Shaffer said.

With a family photo on a screen, Shaffer pointed out McQuinn as a child comforting his cousin, Amber, who was having a bad day when the families were out on a hike.

“Even at 7 years old, Matt … could pick up on that kind of thing,” Shaffer said.

He added that, as a young man, his nephew sometimes dressed in a way that “made you want to cross to the other side of the street. But then he opened up his mouth, and he couldn’t betray who he was.”

McQuinn teased those he loved mercilessly and “you never knew what he was going to say,” Shaffer said. “He was the only one I’ve ever seen who could speak to my dad the way he did and get away with it.”

The reason, he said, was that there was “never any malice” in McQuinn, only “a contagious enjoyment of life” and “an exuberance … that added value to others’ lives.”

“Underneath there,” said Shaffer, “(was) a golden retriever.”

Telling grieving friends and relatives “there are no easy answers” and that “this is not the time for platitudes,” Shaffer advised that “the only way to the other side of grief is through it.”

“We cannot do it alone,” he added. “So let’s make a commitment to one another to embrace the pain of saying goodbye today, to feel it together, to cry together to laugh together, to be angry together.”

“Our lives will never be the same,” he said. “The words Aurora, Cinema 16 shooting, Batman, will never mean the same again,” he added, and likely will serve as reminders of the hurt.

But with time, he said, “it will be good again” and “the very things that cause us pain now will become brighter and stronger and better for the rest of our lives.”

All who knew McQuinn “live with a commitment to be better because of his sacrifice,” said Shaffer, who urged his audience “to pray for those who are left … pray for the families that are left and … be better people.”

Outside the church, the media kept a respectful distance, and in the balcony of the church a reporter from the Denver Post said the entire Denver community has grieved.

“This has torn us up,” said Ray Rinaldi.

Pastor Martin thanked those who “have given of our time, given of yourselves” in offering comfort to the family and those who contributed to the church’s fund to help in the expenses of McQuinn’s burial.

Warren Co. teen suffers serious injuries following dog attack

Published: Saturday, September 23, 2017 @ 1:16 PM

Warren County Chief Dog Warden, Nathan Harper, right, and Deputy Dog Warden, Eric Hancock, keep a close eye on Warren County strays. Jim Noelker/Dayton Daily News
Warren County Chief Dog Warden, Nathan Harper, right, and Deputy Dog Warden, Eric Hancock, keep a close eye on Warren County strays. Jim Noelker/Dayton Daily News

UPDATE @ 2:11 p.m.

The father of a Warren County teen bitten by a dog said his daughter is at Kettering Emergency Center in Franklin with a serious hand injury. 

Rehea Burnett, 16, suffered a severe laceration to her left wrist that may require a hand specialist, according to her father Joshua Burnett. 

Burnett told our newsroom his father owns the dog that attacked his daughter. He said the same dog attacked him years ago. 

"This has been a long, embroiled family issue [...] I've got scars and marks around my right knee from when [the dog] bit me," Burnett said. 

Burnett said he lives with his 16-year-old daughter at the Ridgeville home where she was attacked Saturday morning. 

Burnett said his father, who lives in Waynesville, was at the house with the dog while picking up items for a family member. 

Doctors told Burnett they are concerned about nerve damage his daughter may have sustained in the attack. 

Burnett said the Warren County dog warden has begun an investigation.

EARLIER REPORT (Sept. 23)

Police are responding to a Ridgeville home after a teen was reportedly bitten by a pit bull Saturday afternoon. 

Crews were sent to the 6400 block of West Street after a caller reported a 16-year-old girl had suffered a dog bite. 

Initial reports indicate a family member is driving the teen to the hospital while the dog warden is called to the house. 

The teen's injuries have been described as significant, according to scanner traffic. 

Initial reports indicate the dog has attacked a family member in the past. 

Our newsroom is working to confirm multiple details in this developing story.

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Miami Twp. demolitions aim to protect property values, fight blight

Published: Saturday, September 23, 2017 @ 1:16 PM


            This home in the Chautauqua neighborhood in Miami Twp. was one of two demolished last month through the township’s partnership with the Montgomery County Land Bank. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
This home in the Chautauqua neighborhood in Miami Twp. was one of two demolished last month through the township’s partnership with the Montgomery County Land Bank. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Miami Twp. is in the process of demolishing a series of properties as part of project to limit community blight.

Two homes in the Chautauqua neighborhood were initial targets and the township has identified six other sites as part of a program with the Montgomery County Land Bank.

The land bank assists with tax foreclosure and demolition through the Neighborhood Initiative Program secured funding of up to $25,000 per property.

RELATED: County awaits millions to help fight blight

The partnership with the land bank, which began last year, is part of the township’s strategic plan to eliminate blight and increase property values.

“Our goal is to get these properties back in the hands of dedicated homeowners who will maintain the properties and help their neighborhoods thrive,” said Chris Snyder, Miami Twp. community development director.

The two Chautauqua sites - 6022 Third Ave. and 6049 Second St. - were demolished in August after being empty and deteriorated for years, according to the township. Six other sites will follow, officials said.

Liberty Twp. teen center builds 1st youth garden

Published: Saturday, September 23, 2017 @ 1:00 PM

Lakota students from the Edge Teen Center in Liberty Twp. have started construction of the youth center’s first garden. The garden will be planted in early spring and vegetables and herbs harvested will be used to teach teens healthy cook and eating habits. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF
Lakota students from the Edge Teen Center in Liberty Twp. have started construction of the youth center’s first garden. The garden will be planted in early spring and vegetables and herbs harvested will be used to teach teens healthy cook and eating habits. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

You can’t grow a garden until you build a garden.

That’s just one of the many lessons Lakota teens are learning as the popular Edge Teen Center took its after-school activities outside to create the center’s first student-run garden.

MORE: After school teens: Where they go, what they do

The first-ever garden at the Liberty Twp. youth center — located adjacent to the Lakota East High School — will produce vegetables next spring that will be used in cooking classes.

Annie Droege, director of the Edge Teen Center, said the project will become a new staple of the teen facility, where an average after-school session has more than a 100 area students relax on couches, study their homework at tables, play games or socialize as many of them wait for their parents to come give them a ride home.

“We felt the garden would be a great focal point for the community service portion of the center,” said Droege, as she paused from watching teens build the wooden, elevated garden.

“We wanted a project the students could get behind and build community and what better way than to build a community garden here right next to our facility,” she said.

MORE: Ex-Lakota coach to help lead new Boys & Girls Club in West Chester

“We hope to plant vegetables, herbs and any fruit we can grow so we can start doing healthy cooking classes and teach students basic ways of gardening. It’s a really good teaching method for them to learn they can take from the garden to the dinner table,” said Droege.

Lakota students from the Edge Teen Center in Liberty Twp. have started construction of the youth center’s first garden. The garden will be planted in early spring and vegetables and herbs harvested will be used to teach teens healthy cook and eating habits. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF(Staff Writer)

The Edge Center is one of the few dedicated teen facilities in Butler County.

Teens who don’t work jobs after school often lack a place to gather in a constructive fashion.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Afterschool Alliance, communities across the United States see more than 11.3 million children without supervision between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.

MORE: The 4 essays that helped Butler County quadruplet brothers get into Ivy League schools

The project costs about $500 so far and Mabry Lawn Care is serving as the project director. Funding comes from the Butler County United Way, which is also offering adult volunteers. The YWCA is providing volunteers to help the students build a garden scarecrow.

Lakota East sophomore Abilene Keating paused from helping dig out the garden and said, “I’m really excited about the spring.”

“It’ll be good to have all these vegetables and fruits. I love to cook so being able to do that with fresh food will be great,” said Keating.

Teens who participate in the gardening, maintenance and growing will also earn school community service hours.

Medics requested at scene of Xenia crash involving fire response vehicle

Published: Saturday, September 23, 2017 @ 12:43 PM

Police and medics are responding to the scene of an injury crash involving a fire response vehicle Saturday morning.

Crews were dispatched to the intersection of West Second Street and Progress Drive around 12:25 p.m. 

Initial reports indicate a medic has been called to the scene for an injured patient. 

Dispatchers could not confirm if the injured person was in the fire response vehicle. 

Traffic in the area is currently being rerouted, according to dispatchers. 

We will continue to follow updates in this developing story.

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com