Sullivan County Democrat
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Gracie Hillriegel
Recalled in Park

By Jeanne Sager
FREMONT CENTER — June 2, 2006 – The clouds lifted Saturday morning in Fremont Center for the dedication of Gracie Park – a new playground in Fremont Park created in memory of Gracie Hillriegel, the Callicoon girl who died of leukemia earlier this year.
Fremont Park President Loreen Gebelein thanked a community that has turned out in droves to help make this dream come true. And she thanked Gracie – the little girl “with a great big smile and an outgoing personality.”
“Her story of courage has touched so many people within this small community,” Gebelein said.
The park, which was funded in part by a chicken barbecue that brought in more than $6,400, is open to anyone – with swings and slides for the kids and benches for the parents to rest on. Gracie’s playmates invited to help dedicate the park – Emma Hess, 4, played on a brand new spring pony while Dakota Miller, 6, was swinging in the breeze.
Other organizers and volunteers were invited as well, and Gebelien sent big thanks to: Dennis Brockner, Brian Brustman, Brian and Scott Gebelein, Nicole and Steve Thode, David Armbrust, George Conklin, Joe Niero, George Deckelman, Jim Hughson, Bobby, Patty, Danny and David Hirsch, Ron and Terry Moses, Kohler Lumber, DV Farm and Garden, Judy McCauley, Mike Mahoney, Jeff Meola, Craig Stewart and Susan Bodenstein.
She also thanked Jeannie, Brian and Michael Hillriegel – announcing Gracie’s “pennies from heaven” were used to create the park.
“She always saved her pennies in her piggy bank, and she always wanted a swingset,” Gebelein said. “As Gracie’s mom said, ‘I know she will hear the children’s laughter in heaven and come down to play with her friends.’”

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