By Dan Burchfield For the WPT
“Rockin’ It Out for Relay” was the theme of the fourth annual Webster County Relay for Life this year. With 668 luminaria bags lighting North Mississippi Medical Center- Eupora Hospital’s walking track, people from all over the community gathered Friday night to honor and remember loved ones who have battled cancer. This year’s Luminaria Committee gives a special thanks to everyone who helped with the program. Without the donations and support of the entire community, this year’s event could not have been possible. Jonathan Holmes was the master of ceremonies, keeping everything running smoothly. The Eupora High School’s Interact Club, sponsored by Monica Cummings, placed all the luminaria bags on the track and lit the candles in each one. The Rev. Mike Ramage of Walthall Baptist Church gave the invocation. The singing of “He Will Carry You” by Tracy Palmer was heartfelt by all. Holmes and Dan Burchfield then read the name of each memorial or cancer survivor honorarium. Jacqueline Meek or Corey Murphy made a single bell toll after each memorial name. Eupora native Scott Edwards of North Mississippi Health Services described the importance of family support, prevention and early screening/detection. His job is to stay informed of all the latest breakthroughs and treatments, and give as many options and information to patients as possible. Don Parish, pastor at Tomnolen Baptist Church, then gave his personal story as a prostate cancer survivor, highlighting the strength he needed to conquer this disease coming from family, friends and church. All were then invited to walk the track in quiet reflection in honor and memory of their loved ones. The “Hush Angels” led this procession. These were children from all over the community wishing to play a role in this special event. David and Jo Faulkenbery did a wonderful job with their rendition of “Peace in the Shelter of His Arms” to close the program. Without everyone’s help and hard work and long hours, none of this could have been possible. There are so many other people and organizations to thank for making this year’s event so successful and special. Wendy Cook acted as treasurer and Carol Hillhouse was the cancer survivors’ coordinator for this year’s committee. Both of these women put in long hours to make this year’s program possible. Linda and John Thomas did a great job, as always, with the last- minute computer file and typing work that has to happen for the other volunteers to be able to do their parts. Everyone who participated in the program lent a sense of solemn honor in our paying of respects to those who have died from cancer and to the survivors of this plague. All the musicians who kept the night alive with a variety of great music did “Rock it out for Relay!” While it is impossible to list everyone without leaving someone out, there must be a special thank you to Bob Jones, Bethany Cooper, Amy Hood and James Rico of NMMC- Eupora. These four people along with their staffs were great hosts. Finally, it does not matter how many people worked to put this event on if the whole community did not support it. Thanks to everyone who lent their time, donations and efforts to this worthy American Cancer Society crusade to rid the world of the scourge of cancer. Additional photos are posted at facebook.com/websterprogress.