Her Dale

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    Dale Payne listened to Kiera Volz as she told him about her day after school March 20 in Dale’s Huntingburg home. Dale, who has known Kiera since she was born, has helped raise her since July 2010 and became her legal guardian in October 2011. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Dale showed a gift bought for Kiera by his family members during a Christmas celebration in Huntingburg on Dec. 24. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Dale gently slipped shoes onto Kiera’s feet as she slept Feb. 28 before school. Dale, who works for the City of Huntingburg Parks and Recreation Department, usually dresses Kiera in his recliner while she sleeps. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    With his hands full, Dale carefully shut the car door as he brought a still-sleeping Kiera to the baby sitter’s house before going to work May 22. Dale works for the City of Huntingburg Parks and Recreation Department. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Kiera squirmed and giggled on a tricycle while eating dinner May 14. Dale said he isn’t much of a cook but does his best. This night, he made a family favorite called “fat burgers,” which are handmade hamburger patties. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Before waking Kiera in the early-morning hours of May 22, Dale packed Kiera’s lunch in a Hello Kitty lunch box. Hello Kitty is one of Kiera’s favorite characters. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Dale inspected a tooth Kiera managed to wiggle free at home Nov. 18. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Kiera held onto Dale’s tie while attending a wedding May 10 in Jasper. In large crowds, Kiera tends to stay close to Dale. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    After her drug court graduation ceremony April 7, Tara Payne, right, hugged Kiera as Dale and his daughter, Kayley, 15, left, watched at the Dubois County Courthouse. Sober for more than two years, Tara hopes to continue improving so she can become more involved in Kiera’s life. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Dale inquired about Kiera’s day while playing March 20 in their backyard in Huntingburg. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Dale leaned in to watch Kiera walk into the women’s restroom during a Southridge boys basketball game Jan. 31 at Huntingburg Memorial Gym. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Kiera’s mother, Tara Payne, brushed Kiera’s hair before heading to a Southridge boys basketball game Jan. 31 in Huntingburg. Dale has allowed Tara to live with he and Kiera as Tara looks for more permanent housing. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    Kiera jumped into Dale’s arms as her mother, Tara Payne, studied a flier while picking up Kiera from a dance rehearsal Jan. 31 at Huntingburg Elementary School. Rachel Mummey/The Herald

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    On a rainy May 14 afternoon, Dale Payne and Kiera Volz, 6, relaxed on the couch while watching Disney Channel at their Huntingburg home. Dale says he knows more about princesses and other cartoon characters than most guys his age. Dale, who has known Kiera since she was born, has helped raise her since July 2010 and became her legal guardian in October 2011. Rachel Mummey/The Herald