Fundraisers planned for Berryville police chief

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Berryville Police Chief David Muniz has served the city for 35 years, and its citizens intend to pay him back.

In response to Muniz's three-year fight with cancer, citizens have stepped up to raise money for his treatment. Muniz is undergoing a new experimental cancer treatment at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, with the cost for the 10 treatments totaling $100,000.

His insurance covers only 50 percent of the cost.

Muniz's co-workers set up a bank account at Anstaff Bank of Berryville last month. Though a representative from the bank could not say how much money has been raised so far, family friend Amy Ary said the bank account has been successful enough for Muniz to pay $10,000 every week when he receives treatment.

"I've spoken with them at the bank, and they said they've been very pleased and surprised with the donations people have made," Ary said.

Ary will be hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at 5 p.m. Friday, July 17, at the Berryville Community Center. The dinner will cost $5 but higher donations will be accepted. There will also be a silent auction at the event.

Ary said the goal of the dinner is to raise $50,000. Despite the success of the bank account, Ary said the Muniz family still needs help with travel expenses and other costs. Muniz's insurance, Ary noted, is not paying as much as initially expected.

"The fundraiser is to help ensure that he is able to finish his treatment," Ary said.

Amanda Price will host another fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 10, at the community center. The fundraiser will be a two-hour Zumba and dance event with admission by donation. Price said the suggested donation is $10 and noted that there will be a silent auction at the event as well.

"We're going to have a great time dancing. It'll be a fun way to raise some money," Price said.

According to Ary, these fundraisers could save Muniz's life. She said the doctors at M.D. Anderson have been optimistic about Muniz's health, saying Muniz is in better shape than the first two patients who received the treatment. Still, Ary said, Muniz won't be treated if he can't pay the hospital.

"If we don't raise the money, the cancer kills him. They've put a price on his life, basically," Ary said.

She noted that Muniz has been shy about publicizing his cancer, saying he is a private person. When she started putting together the spaghetti dinner, Ary said, Muniz was hesitant about it.

"He almost feels guilty because he's very prideful and very noble," Ary said. "He's a great person."

Muniz's daughter Jenny Muniz agreed, calling her father selfless and private.

"He kind of likes to sit in the back. He doesn't like the recognition," Jenny Muniz said.

She added that her father has been fighting harder than ever to be there for his family. After his youngest grandchild was born recently, Jenny Muniz said, her father renewed his will to fight.

"He's obviously a great dad. He's got four kids that love him and several grandkids," Jenny Muniz said.

Her father, she added, is the longest-tenured police chief in Arkansas.

Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney said Muniz's long-running service to the city is a testament to his character, asking anyone who can donate to do so.

"He's served the city well. With insurance and battling cancer this long, it's more than most people can handle," McKinney said.

To donate to the account set up for Muniz, call Anstaff Bank of Berryville at 870-423-6000.

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