DAYTON — Lewisburg natives Willy Barnett and Pat Rike recently got married and donated all their gifts to Dayton Children’s Hospital for the children there.
Barnett and Rike met in the eighth grade. After graduating from Twin Valley North High School in Lewisburg, Ohio, they each went their separate ways. After being a part for 43 years, they reconnected through Facebook.
Both retired and moved to Florida. On their way home from a visit to Ohio, Barnett wanted to show Rike a view on Jellico mountain in Tennessee. To her surprise, Rike turned to her right and Barnett was on one knee with a rose and an engagement ring.
Through her excitement and tears, Rike said yes.
On April 13, 2019, they became one at their beach themed wedding.
Since both have been married before, instead of wedding gifts, they thought it would be nice to have their guests bring unwrapped gifts for them to donate to Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Children’s Hospital was very excited about the idea. They would hope that this would set a precedence for others in similar situations to do the same. The guests collected over 300 toys for infants to age 18. They delivered the gifts to the Dayton Children’s Hospital on Tuesday April 16.
“We chose Dayton children’s hospital for two reasons. One, I’m a Shriner and we heard that they were merging with Dayton’s Children’s Hospital. Two, all three of Pat’s children were taken care of there,” Barnett said. “We had over 190 guest and we were so glad that they went over and beyond with gifts. We ended up with over 300 gifts.
“At our age we have enough material items. So we thought, let’s get our guests involved. So we contacted Dayton Children’s Hospital and spoke with Billie Sue. She was ecstatic about the idea, together we all thought this might direct others in our situation to do the same. Our guest were also overjoyed with the idea.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH