Walton overwhelmed by support at benefit

Lauren Meader of Hampton is guarded by Marco Guerrero during the Heath Walton 3-on-3 tournament. KRISTI NIXON/ HAMPTON CHRONICLE

Searching for the right words, long-time teacher and Hampton-Dumont head boys basketball coach Heath Walton knew that ‘thank you’ wasn’t enough.

Fifteen 3-on-3 teams and hundreds of supporters showed up for a benefit Saturday to help Walton, who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.

“It’s been overwhelming between the kids’ response in our school, kids I’ve coached and kids that I’ve taught,” Walton said. “I don’t even know if humbling is the right word. I’ve taught for 20 years and you do it because you love it.

“Unfortunately, it takes something like this slapping you in the face to realize that a lot of really good relationships have been built and it’s been emotionally overwhelming, to say the least.”

A silent auction that included tickets to Iowa football vs. UNI with a jersey signed by coach Kirk Ferentz; an Iowa State football signed by Josh Knipfel; a UNI basketball signed by coach Ben Jacobson and former Panther and current European star Seth Tuttle; Major League Baseball tickets and authentic NFL and Super Bowl items were among the big-ticket items. Also, a free will donation dinner, Thelma’s Ice Cream treats for sale, as well as indoor activities collected an amount that is yet to be determined because donations are still coming in.

It certainly wasn’t something Walton expected.

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