(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Throughout the campaign individual teams sponsored fundraising events. Teams gathered at the park sitting up campsites, food booths and games. This year's teams included Leachville Fire and Police Departments, Chain Reaction from Arbyrd; Farmers Market, Leachville Church of Christ, New Harmony Baptist Church of Manila, Second Baptist Church of Leachville, Classic Rodders, Heritage Bank and the Nifty Fifties Team.
Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's signature event. The event honors cancer survivors who are winning their fight. It also is a memorial for loved ones who did not win their battle against cancer. It also gives communities the opportunity to help in finding a cure through research and help cancer victims and their families.
This year a western theme, "Rope Out Cancer," was selected for the event.
"We appreciate all of our sponsors, teams, and individuals who help make the Relay such a success," co-chair Sheila Spurlock said.
Following the National Anthem, sung by Donna Hampton, cancer survivors were recognized during the survivor ceremony led by Jennie Fleeman, survivor chairman. This year's honorary survivors included Elijah Couch, Gwen Harrison, Sarah Nance, Theressa Bankston, Crystal Rosemond, Fred Chambers, and Brenda Barger. This year's honorary survivors' ages ranged from 3 years old to 100 years old.
Fleeman dedicated the ceremony in memory of Stanley Brock. Brock was chosen as a 2006 honorary survivor. Mr. Brock died in April from pneumonia, a side effect of chemotherapy.
As the survivors prepared to take the first victory lap, Ronnie Horner and Bill Hetler presented a fire works display. Survivors walked to the song, "Celebration."
Cancer survivors were joined by family and friends on the track for the second lap before being joined by team members and others.
Donna and Judy Hampton of Manila were guest performers for the event.
The luminary ceremony was held at 9 p.m. Candles were lit around the track in memory of cancer victims and in honor of cancer survivors. Names were read by Brother Terry Miller, pastor of Assembly of God, Monette, Brother Troy Fisher, pastor of Westside Baptist Church, Manila; Brother Ernest Cornish of Mt. Pleasant General Baptist Church of Monette; and Councilman Mark Wheeler of Leachville. A silent memory lap was held while "Wind Beneath My Wings," played.
Food, music and games were held throughout the evening.
Winners in different categories were:
Campsites: New Harmony Chuck Wagon, first place; Nifty Fifty's Gold Dust Saloon, second place; and Second Baptist Church's Come and Get It Chuck Wagon, third place.
Best Grub: Classic Rodders with its western jambalaya, first place; New Harmony's chili and grilled corn, second place; and Second Baptist Church funnel cakes, third place.
Spirit Stick: Farmers Market, first place; Chain Reaction, second place; New Harmony's Little Wranglers, third place.
Brenda Matheny was awarded the prize for the individual selling the most luminaries.
Team luminary sales went to Nifty Fifties, first place; and Heritage Bank second place.
Martha Smith, Area American Cancer Manager presented Ronnie Horner with a Volunteer of the Year Plaque and Brenda Matheny an appreciation plaque for their dedication and work to the Buffalo Island Relay for Life.
Drawings were held for a western queen sized quilt donated by John and Scott Carter in memory of their father, Vernon Carter. Brian Polston was the quilt. A 20" flat screen television was donated by a business in Forrest City. Skyler Matheny won the television.
The Relay was scheduled for all night activities but due to a strong wind and threat of rain, the relay ended at midnight.
Other upcoming fundraising events are scheduled. Miss Mess and Miss Tacky, sponsored by the Nifty Fifties, will be held at 7 p.m. July 15 at the Leachville Melody Theater. Classic Rodders will hold a car show on July 15 at the Monette elementary school campus.
Jerred Price has a talent show set for September to be held at the Melody Theater.