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