3rd edition of the Cimarron and Benjamin Thomas Memorial Festival was a success | News, Sports, Jobs

PROVIDED PHOTO Ashton Peters, left, and Keri Jacobs, President of 22-Too Many pose for a photo with the bespoke iron bench that will be gifted to Benjamin Thomas’ parents, Dale and Peggy Thomas.

LOCK HAVEN — Eagle Scout and mental health awareness advocate Ashton Peters, 17, recently hosted the third annual Cimarron and Benjamin Thomas Memorial Festival.

Peters has expanded this year’s walk to increase community participation, allowing vendors to join. The festival was held at Riverview Park in Lock Haven. Peters first became aware of suicide when her best friend, Cimarron Thomas, died just over three years ago at the age of 12, and Benjamin Thomas, Cimarron’s father, who died also committed suicide a year later.

Benjamin Thomas was a U.S. Army veteran and sergeant. Ashton has worked closely with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which is the nation’s largest nonprofit dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, and 22-Too Many, a West Virginia-based organization that honors and remembers military members who have lost their lives to suicide or PTSD.

“This year’s memorial festival was a huge success,” said Ashton.

During the opening ceremony, Ashton explained that this year has been a real struggle, explaining “We have to be there for each other and it’s OK not to be OK.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Some of the event supporters march in Riverview Park.

The festival featured vendors, food trucks, music, a silent auction, special guest speakers and a dunk tank. Over $2,000 was raised for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. A highlight of this year’s event was the surprise of a bespoke bench honoring Cimarron and Benjamin Thomas. Director of Operation Creekside, an organization that remembers our troops, Joe Goetz and his wife, Carol, delivered the wrought iron bench the morning of the event. The bench will be donated to Benjamin’s parents, Dale and Peggy Thomas.

The planning committee would like to thank the following companies, suppliers, organizations and donors for their support in making this day a success: AFSP, 22-Too Many, Cara Montarsi State Farm, Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, Operation Creekside, West Branch Drug and Alcohol, Keystone Counseling and Assessment Services, Last Resort Restoration, Job Corps, Steel and Stone Jewelry, Lyonstown Creations, Color Street + Nail, Perfectly Posh, Needful Things and Needful Things Smell Good, Outspoken Serenity, Sugar Paws Bakery, Magnabilties and Gifts, Wolfson Crafting, Gifts and Goods Galore, Bella Bunnies Rabbitry, Caris Subs, Real Taste 570, Downtown Lock Haven, Willits Copiers, Clinton County Visitor Bureau, A Little Bird LLC and Lock Haven Area Medical Service.

Special thanks to the Township of Woodward for the use of Riverview Park.

You can follow the Cimarron and Benjamin Thomas Memorial page on Facebook for updates on future marches and events.

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