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Concert in the Park honors memory of J.T. Honce, raises scholar

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

BRIDGEPORT -- Gray skies and rain Sunday morning did not deter Bridgeport residents from turning out in the afternoon to have fun, and remember a friend.

They came to Bridgeport City Park Sunday afternoon for the Concert in the Park 2000, in honor of J.T. Honce, a city firefighter who was one victim of a 1999 double murder.

"Despite the rain and the delays, everything is turning out nicely," said Jody Honce, J.T.'s mother.

"Getting this up and running takes a lot of work. But it's nice how this community turns out to remember my son they way they do."

All proceeds from the afternoon-long event will go toward two scholarship funds: One at Bridgeport High School; the other at Fairmont State College, said Capt. Mike Freeman, of the Bridgeport Fire Department.

Bridgeport High student Sabrina Anderson won this year's scholarship, Freeman said. The one for the college has not yet been awarded.

Last year, the event raised $4,700 for the scholarship fund, Freeman said. They would like to meet that again this year.

Because of the generosity of local businesses, little of the money had to go toward paying expenses, he said.

The fire department organized the event as a way to remember their fallen comrade. The department works hard to organize the event each year, Freeman said.

"We had about 600 people here last year," he said. "We were pretty happy with it last year. We're just hoping the weather cooperates with us this year."

The morning's gray skies and rain forced the event to get off to a late start. But by early in the afternoon, the skies had cleared, and the concert was underway.

Eight local bands entertained the crowd throughout the day. Local auto buffs showed off their rides during a car show starting at 4 p.m.

The evening was capped off with a fireworks display.

"Some of these people knew J.T., some knew of his work in the community," Freeman said. "We want to try to keep this a community event."

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404.

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