By Carol Reifschneider and Harvey Brock
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Havre, Hill County, Inverness, Rudyard, Joplin, Chinook, Blaine County, Chester, Liberty County, Big Sandy and Choteau County for the wonderful support they expressed during the recent Relay for Life held over July 13 and 14. Through their efforts, over $35,000 was raised to support cancer education, research and cancer support activities in this region. Once again we are humbled by all the concern and support shown by this large community known as the Hi-Line. We continue to be overwhelmed by your generous nature and community spirit. Thank you so very much.
Thank you to all the Cancer Survivors that braved the heat to come out and celebrate. You are the reason that all the people involved work so hard to put on this event. You serve as a wonderful source of inspiration to this community.
An extra special thank you to the team captains for all their hard work they provided prior to and during this event. Without all your efforts, the Relay would not have been the wonderful success it was. The team captains are: Sheila Alefteras, Shirley Muller, Sharon Ward, Marcella Holden, Mary and Willie Pyette, Mary Pizzini, Amanda Brock, Kristie Colling, Laurie Evans, Marlene Teske, Patty Mattson, Rhonda Petersen, Cathy Jamruszka, Barb Domire, Patsy Minnehan, Juliana Hillman and the Earl Donoven family. Thank you so very, very much.
Special thanks also go to Sue Swan, Sheila Alefteras and Karen Sloan for their help putting together the Survivor lap and the Cancer Control activities. Thank you to Sandy Wilson and Charlotte Kelley for their help with luminaries and with registration. Debbie Ritz, as chair of the luminary committee assisted by Shirley Muller, did an absolutely wonderful job in handling and tabulating all the names of honorees. Thank you so very much, Debbie and Shirley!
Sheila Alefteras deserves special recognition for all her hard work in putting together the Luminary ceremony, the sunrise service, the bean bag tournament, and other games that were played during the wee hours. Sheila's enthusiasm and wit are always appreciated, although something other than Sheila's singing her perky morning greeting is highly recommended for next year! Thank you so very much Sheila for all you do for this event.
Jim Muller is well deserving of special thanks for keeping track of all the donations turned in Saturday evening. Thank you Jim for all your hard work.
Thank you to the Army National Guard and Sgt. Ron Fanning, for enduring the heat to assemble and place the luminaries around the track, erect the tents, set out the tables and set up the stage. You did a fabulous job and your efforts were very much appreciated.
This year's event also featured a barbecue put on by the Eagle Creek Ski Patrol members, under the able grilling leadership of Mike Ritz and was a huge success. Thank you Ski Patrol and thank you to Computalog for loaning the state of the art barbecue grill.
Also new this year was live music, which was wonderful and added an especially festive feel to this year's Relay. Thank you to the Hi-Line Cowboy Symphony and Brother Ruphus. Your great music greatly helped those walking the track to have a little bounce in their step! Thank you for sharing your gift of music. Hopefully the added nutrition of all those bugs you all ate gave you a little boost. Thank you so very much.
Two others deserve recognition for providing music for the event. Thank you to Deena Rudio for her lovely rendition of the National Anthem. Thank to Mavis Filler for her lovely and touching songs during the Luminary ceremony. We greatly appreciate your talents.
Thank you to all the sponsors and donors of goods and services. Special thanks to Gary and Leo's IGA, Albertsons, Havre Distributors, Culligan, Coca-Cola Bottling, Meadowgold and Jerry Zorko, Havre Rental, Patrick Construction, Garbage Inc. and the Havre Public School District. Your involvement really helped to make this event extra special.
The Knights of Columbus, under the watchful eye of Bob Christeck, did an absolutely fabulous job supplying breakfast to a rather ravenous bunch of die-hards. Thank you so very much for your continued support of this event.
Special thanks to Mayor Bob Rice for his opening words, for arranging the presentation of the colors by color guard from the VFW, post 497, and for providing for the lights for the tents. Thanks especially to Jason Morehouse for stringing the lights up. A very special thank you to Jim Donovan for providing a wonderful place for the relay to take place, access to tables and chairs, access to the indoor plumbing and for all your help during the evening. Your help and support are greatly appreciated. The water feature added a new element to this year's event.
Thank you to Wendy McKamey of the American Cancer Society for all your help, support and counsel to Harvey and myself in putting the Relay for Life together.Thanks also to Vonda from the Billings office of the American Cancer Society for all your help during the night.
An extra special thank you to Dustin Toth for the wonderful music that was played during the wee hours of the morning and during the heat of set-up time. You did an absolutely wonderful job in compiling all the music. Your efforts were very well received. Thank you so very much.
Thank you to Marie Deegan for her masterful handling of names as she read not only the team member names but also the Luminary honorees. You did a fabulous job. Thank you. A special thank you several of the Havre Daily News team, Craig Otterstrom and family, Luke Vickery and Rhonda Petersen, for all their help with handling the luminary signup, filling and setting out luminaries, moving luminaries and lighting of the luminaries during the night.
Words cannot fully express our gratitude to this Hi-Line Community. Seeing all those campsites, all the Survivors and all the participants, especially all those at 7 a.m. Sunday morning it truly an emotional experience that we have had the privilege to experience these past three years. Thank you very much for the wonderful, steadfast and generous support that all have provided to us. Communities coming together against a horrible disease, cancer, is what the Relay for Life is all about. Thank you and we will see you next year.
Carol Reifschneider is an associate professor at Montana State University-Northern. Harvey Brock is publisher of the Havre Daily News.