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Pennington brings karaoke to Cherry Village residents, staff
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Marvella Becker and Walt Pennington cut a rug at Cherry Village during a recent karaoke session at the long-term-care facility. - photo by Courtesy photos

When Walt Pennington was a long-haul truck driver he sang with the radio as the miles went by.
Today, the long-time Great Bend resident sings and dances with Cherry Village Benevolence residents while sharing his time and talent with a special population in the community.
Pennington takes his show on the road once a month to the long-term-care facility where he sets up his karaoke equipment and invites the residents and staff to sing along.
“This is a good thing,” Pennington said. “It is my way of giving back to this very special community of people. God has blessed me with an ability to sing; it would be silly not to share it.
“It is so gratifying to see the enjoyment this brings to the folks at Cherry Village,” he continued. “We get everyone involved and they always enjoy it. This is good for them and it is good for me. Actually, I sometimes feel guilty because I feel so good when I do this. It’s like my feet don’t even touch the ground.”
Pennington, 69, retired seven years ago after traveling in the Midwest and to the East Coast for 40 years as a driver for Thies Packing, Fuller Brush, R & S Transportation and Van Wyk.
He acquired a taste for entertaining about 15 years ago when he and some friends were asked to sing at an area bar and grill.
“We agreed to do it and had such a good time,” Pennington recalled. “Now I have more time to devote to it. The smiles on everyone’s face makes it all worth it.”

During each visit at the non-profit facility, Pennington plays karaoke and sings for about 90 minutes; up to about 30 residents participate each time, singing to the oldies from the country, rock and pop genres. He takes requests and even throws some new country artists into the mix.
“And the nurses and other staff love the music too,” Pennington laughed. “I hear they all look forward to the karaoke each month.”
Pam Lewis, Cherry Village administrator, agreed that residents and staff are always up for a visit from Pennington.
“This just enhances our residents’ lives and our staff will do anything they can to offer these kinds of activities,” Lewis said, noting family members often join in. “Everyone ends up smiling and that’s what it’s all about.
“The people who live here continue to give a lot to all of us,” Lewis added. “And we appreciate all of them. We will take every opportunity to share a little light-hearted fun with our residents and their families.”
A local family manages Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane. It is a non-profit entity.