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_DSC5397 The first Peacefest started off with a splash… literally as Racine Police Chief Art Howell got doused by NBA basketball star Caron Butler with a bucket of icy water.

The ice bucket challenge was to support the ALS Association. Peacefest was all about supporting the community.

Hundreds of families took advantage of the warm weather and headed to Quarry Park on Sunday to attend the event, which included music, food, and access to community resources like the Racine Neighborhood Association, and Racine Public Library.

“The positive relationships that exist between local police officers and the citizens we serve is remarkable. We are grateful for the support extended to the members of the local law enforcement community, and we are humbled by the overwhelming community support for the Peacefest initiative,” wrote Howell in a commentary.

Butler said he wanted to help support the event because it brought people from all demographics together.

“The chief has been a huge mentor for me, so I’m here to support him in what he’s trying to do in bringing something positive to Racine and helping to make a difference here,” Butler said.

Another group that hoped to make a difference was a group called Positive Men Making A Difference, which is run by Addo Williams Jr., Jodie Lockridge and Maurice Horton. The group helps support youth by offering counseling and mentoring services in Starbuck Middle School and Goodland Elementary. They also hope to expand into Gilmore Middle School.

Starting the group was their calling, Williams said as he handed out information to parents.

“We want to help improve kids’ character… it’s also about building respect and we believe that starts with teaching them how to say, ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘yes, sir,'” Williams said. “That’s got to start with kids respecting the parents, so that’s the foundation.”

This special event is the vision of Beth David, founder of We Are Racine (WAR) a local community advocacy group. Officials from several police departments — Sturtevant, Mount Pleasant and Racine — sold raffle tickets, and handed out baseball cards.

David said she was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s been great,” she said. “People started getting here at 11:30 a.m. and the parking lot was full. I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout.”

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.