Monday, February 16, 1998
Benefit helps officer's family

BY EARNEST WINSTON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Covington Police Sgt. Robert M. Ervin hangs a banner at a benefit for Officer Mike Partin's family at Yucatan Liquor Stand at Covington Landing. At left is Covington Fire Capt. Kirk Reinhart and, center, former Covington policeman Ed Lauer.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
COVINGTON, Ky. - The mood was upbeat Sunday during a nine-hour fund-raiser for the family of missing Covington Police Officer Mike Partin.

Hundreds of colleagues, friends, family members and supporters gathered at the Yucatan Liquor Stand at Covington Landing.

The entertainment included a duet - ''Tears In Heaven'' - by Officer Dennis Sparks and Spc. Dean Abner.

''We developed a real close friendship,'' said Officer Sparks, who helped plan the benefit.

Officer Partin is presumed to have drowned after he jumped over a concrete barrier and fell into the Ohio River on Jan. 4. He was helping another officer chase a fleeing man on the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge. His body has not been found.

The family, who gathered on the second floor at the Yucatan, was unavailable for comment.

''I couldn't ever imagine what she (Officer Partin's wife) could be going through. I don't know how I'd be able to take it,'' said Officer Sparks' wife, Vonna.

partin
Mike Partin
Mrs. Sparks and several other wives of officers assisted with raffle tickets and door prizes. So many people volunteered to help with the fund-raiser that many had to be turned away.

''It really wasn't any hesitation on our part. We're glad to do it,'' said Rick Marksberry of Del Rio, one of about a dozen bands that volunteered their services.

Supporters wore black and blue ribbons that were handed out upon entering the benefit.

''We have a very strong feeling about Covington. We're a very close-knit community,'' said Carolyn Hanks of Covington. ''And we feel strongly that we should support our police department.'' Mrs. Hanks' husband, William, said, ''To lose one of our policemen is a personal loss.''

Brad McPhillamy of Union, who was waiting for friends to join him, said he wanted to show his respect.

''This guy put his life on the line. The least I can do is donate 20 or 30 bucks,'' Mr. McPhillamy said.

Assistant Chief Steve Schmidt said the entire department has been moved by the show of support from the community.

''Yes, it's very difficult for me to ever come here by the river, to come into this building because of the memories. I'm sure in time it'll go away. But it's difficult,'' Lt. Col. Schmidt said.

The Yucatan Liquor Stand donated its facility and several employees for the benefit. Covington Neighborhood Watch also provided food. Responding to the depth of community support, Spc. Abner said, ''I'm glad I'm a cop.''

Between 1,000 and 1,200 people were expected to attend, said Spc. Abner, who also helped with the benefit.

Previous reports

Search fails to find officer Jan. 5, 1998
What happened(118k gif), Jan. 5, 1998
Tristate police suffer another blow Jan. 5, 1998
Rookie looked, acted like vet Jan. 5, 1998
Officer's family grieves at river Jan. 6, 1998
Bridge gap has a purpose Jan. 6, 1998
Borgman cartoon Jan. 6, 1998
Police keep taking risks for our sake Karen Samples column, Jan. 6, 1998
Pro divers added to search Jan. 7, 1998
Rain slows search for officer Jan. 8, 1998
Police weary but determined Jan. 9, 1998
Death, search take toll on chief Jan. 10, 1998
Partin recalled as a kind officer Jan. 11, 1998
Police might re-evaluate search Jan. 11, 1998
Weather delays hunt for officer Jan. 13, 1998
Police: Donation calls are fake Jan. 14, 1998
Hints taunt river searchers Jan. 25, 1998
Police, family stuck in grief Feb, 4, 1998