Fathers Day Origin
According to history.com on July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, with a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah. However, it was a one-time celebration and not an annual holiday at the time.

The next year, a Spokane, Washington, woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful. Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on July 19, 1910.

Ever so slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, DC. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day. As time progressed more and more families began to observe Father’s Day as a national holiday.

Today’s Fathers
Randy Williams, father of four children himself, came from a family consisting of 11 children. Growing up in Kenna, William’s parents instilled values into him that he has passed along to his children. Randy and his wife, Nina, have been married 28 years and have four children—two boys and two girls. Mr. and Mrs. Williams also have two grandchildren—two little girls, one is four and the other is two.  
Randy has been employed by the City of Ravenswood as a Maintenance Worker for over 16+ years. After graduating from Ripley High, he went straight into the workforce and said he’s worked his entire life. However, he says his greatest accomplishment doesn’t pertain to his career. When asked, he spoke of instilling values into his children as well as enjoying time with them and his grandchildren and seeing them grow up. At the end of the day, family is of great importance to Williams.

In February, 2014, Randy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cell Carcinoma in the lung and liver. The doctors stated that due to the type of Carcinoma it is, unfortunately it was incurable but sub doable for the time being.
After taking chemotherapy treatments, the Carcinoma has shrunk, giving hope back to the family. Randy stated that he believed in the good Lord above and that makes it easier to handle the diagnosis.

He quoted his preacher stating, “ We’re not really dying; we are moving on.” He continued on to say that his advice for others out there facing cancer is “don’t give up.”

Father’s Day Cookout         
On June 15, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Katie Speece Photography will be holding a Father’s Day Benefit Cookout and Silent Auction for Randy Williams at the Riverfront Park. The event is open to the public. It will be a wonderful way to spend Father’s Day with your Dad. The purpose of this event is to help the family by giving them both emotional and financial support.
The idea behind this event blossomed when Speece was informed that the only thing Williams wanted was a photograph of his family and him. Speece, 19, touched by the simplicity of Williams’ request, decided to sponsor this Father’s Day Benefit in hopes to bring the community together to celebrate what truly matters.

The community itself has rallied together to help in anyway possible from people preparing the food, donating their time and even donating the items for the Silent Auction.
The event will consist of 30+ items for the Silent Auction: Movie Baskets, Picnic Baskets, Prayer Baskets, a “Mans Cave” Basket,  and two Girls’ Day Out Baskets. Baskets items include Regal Cinema in Parkersburg Gift Card, Bible, multiple gift certificates to T+T Tanning Salon and Court’s Corner Hair Salon in Ravenswood as well as several Primitive Signs from Frugal Frog in Ripley.

Other silent auction items include a Primitive Fire Screen, Snow Blower valued at $324 from 84 Lumber, a Jewelers Touch gift card worth $100, a windshield taken from a NASCAR race car, a Woods Acoustic guitar, Vera Bradley bags, an Origami Owl Necklace and many more.

The event will also offer barbequed foods, hotdogs and a variety of salads, side dishes and homemade deserts. There will be entertainment by local artists in the area as well as a Cake Walk, a corn hole tournament and other family activities.

When asked about the event being held in his honor, Williams said, it shows that there is “still a lot of good people in Ravenswood” and “the community is good.”
Please come out and enjoy community togetherness by spending time with your Dad on Fathers Day at the Riverfront Park.