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Yalobushians Dig Deep As Relay Exceeds Goal

The First Lap of the Relay For Life was made by the cancer survivors. Here Gail Caldwell, Jonnie Mayo, and Geri Cardwell lead the march. – Photo by Jack Gurner

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – The 2008 Yalobusha County Relay For Life raised $83,506.37, exceeding their goal and topping their 2007 total by about $3500, according to Jonnie Mayo, event chairperson.

The annual spring fundraiser for the American Cancer Society culminated last Friday evening at the Crawford Sports Complex. Preparations began early in the day as members of the 18 Relay Teams moved in to set up their campsites.

The survivor’s celebration party got underway at 5 p.m. with 54 survivors on hand for hot dogs and chips. The Red Hat Melons hosted the event with the Rotary Club doing the cooking.

Opening ceremonies were held at 6 p.m. with a welcome by Mayo, an opening prayer by Rev. Amos Sims, and the National Anthem sung by Jennifer Dean.

At 6:30, cancer survivors made the first lap of the Relay while a list of survivor names was read. The second lap was reserved for survivors, their family, and caregivers while the third lap was made by all team members.

Entertainment began at 7 p.m. with winners from the Yalobusha County Relay Idol Contest. Shelby Hernandez, first place winner of the original contest in March, raised an additional $1,004.35 to become winner of the final competition.

Other entertainment included Mary Freeman and The Christian Soldiers from First Christian Church and Jen Curtis, a music teacher from Lafayette Elementary School.

The Luminaria Ceremony began at 9 p.m. with a prayer by Travis Clement, a selection of poems, and reading of the Luminaria names. “It is the ceremonial part to me,” explained Glenda Gordon, Luminaria chairman. “Everything is quiet as the cancer victims and survivors are honored.”

Because of threatening weather predicted to move in after midnight, the Relay events were cut short, Mayo said.

During the awards ceremony, the Yalobusha General Hospital and Nursing Home received trophies for the best campsite, most money raised by bank night and most money raised overall.

The most spirit trophy went to BorgWarner while the Relay Team award went to the Dynamic Conquerors. The trophy for the most money raised by an individual went to James Morgan who brought in over $2500.

Overall $62,342.37 was brought in by the 18 Relay Teams: Bayson Chapel Prayer Warriors, BorgWarner – Warriors, Christian Soldiers, BorgWarner – Crusaders, Dream Riders, First Christian Church, Dynamic Conquerors, First Methodist Church, Mechanics Bank – Working on a Cure, Oakland – W. Y. Cure finders, BorgWarner – Onia’s Eradicators, Regions Bank Warriors, BorgWarner – WWE, BorgWarner – Anna’s Avengers, I Love Lucy, Sylva Rena Community, and Yalobusha County Hospital and Nursing Home.Contributions of $14,690 were made by event sponsors: BorgWarner, Inc., Global Food Innovations, Inc., L. Hart, Inc., Larson’s Piggly Wiggly, Mechanics Bank, North Mississippi Herald, Red Hat Melons, Renasant Bank, Water Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Yalobusha General Hospital and Nursing Home.

The survivor sponsors included: BorgWarner, Inc., Carothers and Carothers, Mechanics Bank, Red Hat Melons, Rotary Club, Water Valley Chamber of Commerce, Odom Sunday School Class, Seven Oaks Funeral Home, and Humana MarketPoint.

Serving on the 2008 Relay For Life Committee: Jonnie Mayo, event chairperson; Glenda Gordon, co-chairperson; Nell Jobe, accounting chair; Tonya Eubanks, accounting co-chair; Ora Lee Phillips and Bea Tidwell, team recruitment chairpersons; Rachel Bell, team recruitment, BorgWarner; Lynn Morris, Dee Cox, and Geri Cardwell, Luminaria sales; Glenda Gordon, Luminaria preparation and placement; Jonnie Mayo and committee, sponsorship; Jo Lewis, activities and entertainment; Bobby Murphree, M.C. and equipment; Tommy Edwards, logistics; Rhonda Burchett, on-line chairperson; Ethel Morgan, advocacy; and Rubye Carr, mission delivery.

Working as event volunteers: Melinda Grimmett, Travis and Jeannie Clement, Pam Taylor, Becky Jones, Dee Cox, and Bonnie Dimock.

During the closing ceremony, Mayo thanked the City of Water Valley for use of the Crawford Sports Complex. She also thanked the Electric Department, the Street Department, and the Police Department.

Additionally she thanked Rev. Amos Sims, the Beta Club volunteers, the Yalobusha Country Club for the use of their golf carts, the Red Hat Melons, the Rotary Club, Lela Mae McMinn, and the Mechanics Bank for use of office space.

Among others who received thanks were Rachel and Larry Bell for their dedication, and to all the team captains and team members. She added a special thanks to everyone who donated to the event.

While the Relay For Life was an overall success, Mayo said the event was marred by incidents that occurred during the evening. Several groups of teenagers and young adults became unruly and also a number of the Luminaria were damaged or destroyed.

“They desecrated the Luminaria Ceremony by stealing candles and destroying the bags that were purchased by families and friends in honor of cancer victims and survivors,” she said.

Mayo added that she would recommend to the Relay For Life committee that the event be held during the day. Further, she said that team members and volunteers will be given passes to the event, but others will have to give a donation to enter the complex.

The unruliness caused safety issues for the participants, she said. “These people were not even affiliated with the teams or the program. I am just thankful that there were no injuries.”

The following is a list of luminarias purchased in honor of or in memory of cancer victims:

    In Memory Of    

Pam Bell Adams, Mable Anthony, Smiley Arrington, Willow Dean    Ashley, Gary Ayers, George Ayers, Maxine Baird, Joe Bass, Maxyne Beard, Aileen Bell, Brandy Bennett, Donnie Berry, Kitti Binford,  Barbara Blackley, Eva Brooks, A.L. Brown, Tammy Martin Calvert, Ross    Cardwell, Sr, Geniene Carter, Mrs. R.D. Carter, Clefa S. Chapman, Virginia Chittwood, Norma Clement, Gloria Brown Cox, E.C. ‘Pat’ Cox, Sue Cox, Margaret Craddock, Brownie Crawford, John Crow, Sr, Brian Dahl, Darrius Davidson, Virgil Dean, Helen Dees, Lila Dimock, Mary W. Dorman, Peggy Douglas, Clifton Leroy Dyer, Jr., Bootsie Edwards, Grover Ensley, Tommy K. Eubanks, Ray Eubanks, Jr, Lela Evans, Jo Ann Failery, Luella Fair, Rebecca Farris, Lucy Faulker, John Faulkner, Joan Fletcher, Betty Jane Ford, J.B. Goodwin, Sam D Graham, Lou V Graham, Mable & Taylor Green, Lawrence Hale, Sam D Hall, Beatrice Dyer Hardin, Willie Harris, Jr., Mary Hemphill, Bill Hendricks, Dorothy Jane Henry, Hamric Henry, Thelma Hensley, Billy Jack Hill, Joe Holt, Willie Alice Horton, Gloria Howard, Nelie    Howell, Zack Hubbard, Alex Hudson, Minnie Humphreys, Louella Jeffers, Mary Kesler, Frank Kilgore, Effie    King, Erma King, Betty    King, Hazel King, Dr. Ordie King, Sr., Dot Lanaster, Bruce Lancaster, Mattie Lou Lancaster,  Penny Lancaster Gainey, Sarah Lancaster Ensley, Allen Langham, Clifton Lawson, J D Lewis, Nickey Lewis, Mary Ann Lewis, Katherine Litton, Dot Lowe, Dorothy Lowe, Jan Lugtig, Vonce    Martin, Kate Martin, Randle Martin, Willie Eugene Martin, Stanford Martin, Christine and Garland Maynor, Flody McCain, Ouida McCracken, Edna Earle McGregor, J. T. McKinney, Scott Mcqueen, Donald Melton, Johnny Mills, Dr. Bo Milicevic, Freck Mitchell, Ronnie Mixon, Joe Willie Morgan, Herman Morgan, Shirley Morton, Buddy Moxley, Doris Myrick, Al Orf, Stewart Person, Nell Whalen Person, Cutee Pinkerton    , Willie Polk, David Allen Porter, Paul H.M. Press, Russell Prestage, Louise Province, Alfred Reed, Jr., Paul    Roberson, Lucille Roberson, Francis Rogers, Buck Rogers, Harry Ross, Richard Ross, Sr.,Cathy D. Rowland, Debra Rue, Helen Schneller, Mr. C. L. Schoonover, Jeri Shaw, Hubert Smith, Hazel Smith, Gouge Sprouse, Robert Sprouse, John W. Sprouse, Marshal Stockton, Guy Stough, Kyle Taylor, Cornelia Taylor, Margaret R. Tedford, Stanley True, Mark Trusty, Nina Karen Turnage, Wade Watkins Turnage, Catherine Turnage, Rachel Turner, Edith    Tutor, Sybil    Vanlandingham, Barbara Vescovo, Mildred Waddell, Connie Walker, Woody Walker, Effie    Walker, John Eddie Walls, Jack A. Wheeler, Thelma A Wheeler, Dorothy Faye White, Martin White, Kathy Whitehead, Lela Whiteside, Dewitt Whitten, Charles L. Wilbourn, Mary Lou Williams, Delbert ‘Buddy” Worthington, and Wanda York.   

In Honor Of

Linda Ross Aldy, Marilyn Barton, Jessica Billings, Jodie Bledsoe, Alice    Brower, Carol Brown, Rochesteer Buford, Gail Caldwell, Geri Cardwell, Brett Cardwell, Janet Ross Caulder, Bo Chinault, Jeannie Clement, Travis Clement, Dee Cox, Larry Davis, Bonnie Dimock, Mike    Edwards, Kevin    Fries, Michael Glick, Kay Goodwin, Glenda Griffith, Connie Groner, Mike Hale, Paula Hall, Maddie Hammond, Donna Hardy, Edna Lynn    Harmon, W.E. ‘Buck’ Hedgepeth, Mose Henderson, Sr., Peggy Hogan, Guay Hudson, Shirley Hurst, Linda Ingram, Bernice Jackson, Sue Jolley, Becky Jones, Shelia Jones, Lucille Joseph, Stanley Kesler, Larry Kimzey, Debra Ensley Kite, Callie Lancaster, Johnnie Lancaster, Rev. Leon Lancaster, Betty    Lancaster, Linda Lancaster, Marilyn Lancaster, Margaret Lantrip, Ann Larson, Russell Lay, Mrs. Jo Lowery, Sherri Makamson, Johnnie Mayo, Freddie Mcdougal, Billy    Mcneer, Layton Melton, Eddie Mitchell, Steve Moore, Ethel Morgan, Sueann Mott, Morjorie Moxley, William Pilcher, Scott Potette, Patricia Province, Betty    Shelton, Peggy Shelton, Karin B. Skelton, Daniel Smith, Lalah Smith, Clifton Smith, Jason Styles, Butch Surrette, Tommy Swearengen, Walter and Carol Tacke, Mary John Turnage, Crip Tyler, Clara Warren, Pat Welch, Darnell Whitten, Janet    Wilder, Snooky Williams, Harold Williams, Tuffy Williamson and  Callie Woodard.

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