Porter County Sheriff's Department

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Dennis Replin Benefit


Benefit for 'everybody's grandpa'

By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent


VALPARAISO -- From the 10 years he's served court security -- the last three as team leader -- many people around the courthouse square know Lt. Dennis Replin.

"Dennis is one of those guys who's like everybody's grandpa. No matter what, he was happy and could always make you laugh," said Jeremy Nemeth, assistant manager at the Chocolate Café, where Replin always found his morning coffee, an occasional cookie and arguments about NASCAR.

"I looked forward to seeing him in the mornings," Nemeth said.

For the last seven weeks, most people haven't seen Replin, though. During a routine gall-bladder operation, doctors discovered white specks on his pancreas, and tests showed cancer there, in his liver and in his stomach.

To help cover costs of chemotherapy and medical procedures, the security deputies are holding a spaghetti dinner May 17 at Oakwood Hall in Portage's Woodland Park.

Replin, who retired from Bethlehem Steel, has insurance, said Cpl. Jackie Hrezo. However, "for one of his medications, just out of his pocket, he has to pay $750."

The dinner features a band, a 50/50 raffle, silent auction and tip boards.

They expect at least 1,000 people to attend. Besides his courthouse work, Replin has had a local sports show on Comcast, has served on the Portage Parks Board and has videotaped football and basketball games for Portage schools and Valparaiso University.

At the Chocolate Café, the staff has put up a jar and will match donations up to $500.

In less than two weeks, they've almost reached the goal, Nemeth said.

Angie Higgins from the café offered to make something for the bake sale when Hrezo dropped in, and they offered to sell tickets to the dinner.

The dinner runs from 6 p.m. to midnight, and the $10 tickets can be bought from the officers at the courthouse or at the door, just off Willowcreek Road.

Donations can also be made for Dennis Replin in care of First National Bank.


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