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Many blessings come through Relay

By By JUDY PYLATE
Relay for Life Chairman
How do you eat an elephant? Just one bite at a time, so the wise men say, so here goes my first bite.
Relay for Life is a private affair, a public affair and a very personal affair. This year has been such a blessing to me, for each of you have shown me your heart, and I have looked deep into your souls. As always, when you are so closely connected to a group, you begin to experience blessings that engulf you and keep you buoyed up during the down times. Special thanks are in order, so here goes.
Thanks to Norma Hall Porter who had the wonderful idea for banners along the avenues leading to Tom Byrne Park – thank you. Anna Zarahn took the time and energy to lovingly oversee this project. She also painted two gorgeous banners to honor her mother. Thanks, Anna.
Thanks to Matthew Dobson and Terri Godwin for the great work they do each year. They seem to come up with just the right games and fun things to do in the middle of the night. The children love Terri and she never disappoints them on Relay night. Maybe this year, I can slip off over to the "young people's" campsite and see what's going on over there.
Thanks to Atmore Nursing Care Center's Barbara Nemeth and to Annice Barnhill. I'd like to say "atta girl." You go. Once again, the survivors' reception gets a five star rating in my book. Thanks also to Leslie German for stepping in to help Annice with the educational part of our Relay. On three n "What is the American Cancer Society's phone number?"
Thanks to Ronnie Huskey. What a great guy! I never worried for one minute about our sponsor money. I knew we could count on him to do a great job.
Wanda Hall saw to it that the money was counted correctly, and a job I dreaded all year went smooth as silk.
Sandra Johnson lit our candles for a beautiful and very touching luminary service. I am constantly amazed at the breathtaking sight of all those beautiful candles in honor of and in memory of.
Robyn Byrd, I want you to know I never once thought about whether I would have a microphone or not. I just knew it would be there if I needed it, and I knew that every bit of the entertainment would be perfect. Needless to say, it was perfect and all of us thank you for that.
To Katie Guyton, thank you for changing jobs. If she hadn't, Alto probably would not have had a Relay team. Sometimes the Lord uses us in strange ways, Katie, and I salute you.
To the Press Crew at The Atmore Advance, you have opened your meetings to me and fed me supper many times. Thanks you for making me a part of your inner circle. Thank you also for all the great publicity. I know there is not another newspaper in the state that gives Relay as much coverage as The Advance does. Kudos to Myrna Monroe and Sherry Digmon for so much joy for Relay.
Thanks to Vickie Fayard and Brenda Wade for their balloon lift-off. I loved watching those balloons take off and take flight to the next level. Boy! What a sight.
To Camp Sunshine and Scott Hurst, thanks for coming aboard again and doing such a good job. Thanks also to Joyce Respress for an "excitement" for Relay. She's the kid of grease that keeps the wheels turning.
Thanks to Nicole Williamson, our "baby" team captain of the group. This 19-year-old young woman took the "Bull" by the horns and created a team for David's Catfish. They got a late start but made up for their lack of money with a wonderful spirit and heart.
Thanks to Kitty Day and Sue Beck for showing the rest of us just how Relay is done. First National's 12-month approach is an example we could all learn to follow.
Thanks to Cereal Daniel for taking the Frontier Communications team and doing an awesome job. Nobody wanted the job this year and I truly think the rest of the bunch stepped back one step, leaving Cereal standing alone. You did the job well, Cereal.
Thanks to Dianne Boatwright for making our kick-off a truly unique experience. You have shown me your heart and given me insight into Thomas's beautiful soul. You truly exemplify the "spirit of Relay."
Thanks to Bonnie Bazemore-Mason for leading me in a walk of faith. She promised me she would do a great Relay team to honor her mama and she did! You go, girl.
Thanks to Northview High School for proving that the young people of today are the best. They managed to become Atmore's first young people's team. Thanks to you and Allison Robinson who put it all together.
To Rusty Miller, a great big thanks for not only becoming my co-chair, but also the Pepsi/SAV team captain. He has helped me muddle my way through this year and kept me from falling on my face. You never disappoint us, Rusty.
Thanks to Edie Jackson for just being yourself. I have worked with Edie before and she always carefully follows the rules and does an outstanding job no matter what. Thank you so much, Edie, for knocking my socks off.
Thanks to Michelle Donnelle for saying to the "higher ups," "We in the Atmore Southern Aluminum plant would like our own Relay team and our own night of fun." Thanks.
Thanks to Southern Pine for giving us that "Big Sponsorship" that we needed to have a successful Relay. Thank you for giving us your support and your money.
Thanks to Kathy Swift and Elsie Butler for showing us that an evening in the forest doesn't have to be bugs, crickets, snakes and other types of creepy crawlers! Thanks. It was awesome.
Thanks to Donna Harrison and Nancy Helton for Tell-A-Friend. Go! Go! Go! Oh yes, and those hamburgers were the best I ever had. Thanks.
Thanks to Vanity Fair and Rita Gohagen for always doing well with Relay. I would really love to know what goes on in those bingo sessions. They must be tons of fun. Your memory table was touching. Thank you for doing your usual good job.
A huge thanks to Rusty Miller and Nancy Helton for having the faith that I could follow in and try to fill their footsteps.
And last, but certainly not the least of these, thanks to Vickey Sellers who very quietly held my hand, gently assured me that I could do it, and walked beside every step of the way.
It's been a great year in this life. Thank you.