Peters Township Event Benefits Always B Smiling Activity Center

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As she addressed a large crowd of people gathered on a beautiful Sunday morning, Kristin Huibregtse struggled to hold back tears.

“I know Bennett is smiling at it all,” the South Fayette resident said, “and I’m so happy and love everyone here.”

The occasion was the second annual Miles for Smiles event, a fundraiser for the nonprofit Always B Smiling that she and her husband Dean started in memory of their late son.

“Our mission is to create smiles for children, young adults and families struggling with health issues and disabilities. It’s that simple and yet that difficult,” Dean said. “Kristin and I know what it is. We have lived this for 16 and a half years with Bennett, and we are committed to supporting and growing our programs and services.

Miles for Smiles was held at TAR Outdoor Storage, located along the Montour Trail in Peters Township. Tom Robinson, who also owns TAR Driveway Supplies on McLaughlin Run Road in Bridgeville, joined his wife, Jeannie, and other family members in organizing the event.

“Kristin and Dean are contagious,” Jeannie said. “They are wonderful people, and what they do for children and adults with disabilities, I want our family to be involved in, our whole family. And we want to continue and see where it takes us.

The Huibregts have raised funds to build an accessible, safe and sensory interactive activity center, and it is planned to be located on the property of TAR Outdoor Storage.

Miles for Smiles offered opportunities to run, walk, cycle and other means of travel, with participants going as far as they wanted along the trail and back, up to 5 kilometers. The distance for a 116-yard sprint for children was established due to the age at which Bennett Huibregtse lived.

Other Always B Smiling activities include weekly adapted bike rides, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday through October 30 at the Tandem Connection in Cecil, also along the Montour Trail. The adapted bike is powered by a trained volunteer, and the 9-mile ride ends with craft activities and ice cream.

For more information, visit alwaysbsmiling.org.

Harry Funk is a news editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Harry at hfunk@triblive.com.

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