Atmore's people make difference
Published 8:51 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2001
By By SONNY CALLAHAN
After a year of planning, Relay for Life finally came to fruition on June 8 and what a great ending it was.
In spite of heavy rains in the afternoon, a young Noah some said, and electricity problems, the captains of the teams were called together to make a decision as to whether we should continue or not. I placed the future of Relay 2001 in the capable hands and 16 strong said no way, we are here to fight cancer and cancer does not go away when it rains, so we're here for the night.' I have never been prouder of a group of ordinary citizens in my life.
For you see, Atmore, these are your people, the people who will throw their hearts into whatever needs to be done and do it. You should be so very proud.
Every time I asked for help during the past 10 or 12 months so many people have been right there ready and willing to walk the next mile. Table and chairs were needed for the survivors' reception. The nursing home only had a few. My chairman for the reception said I need 15 tables and 150 chairs.' I called Escambia Lawn and Garden Rental and was assured that on Friday morning the required tables and chairs would be there at no charge to us. Folks, that's teamwork! Thanks.
Sponsors came through when they were asked, donating their money to help us have a profitable event. Southern Pine became our big sponsor as they came across with a big donation.
At 5:30 p.m. the events began to roll. The survivors reception was well attended and Relay 2001 was off to a great start. Entertainment this year was spectacular. Denean Workman sang our national anthem after an opening prayer by the Rev. C.L. Langford of Calvary Baptist Church. Tim Byrd, manager and CEO of Southern Pine Electric spoke on behalf of Soutern Pine. Relay was underway.
God Bless William Adams. What a story and what a talented little trooper. A survivor himself, William sang and strummed his banjo and everyone within hearing tapped a toe to keep time.
Atmore's own barbershop quartet, "The Four J's" is a well-kept secret that needs to be told to everyone you meet.Jerold Stahly, Jerry Gehman, Dr. Jon Yoder and Phil Johnson sent sweet melodies all over the campground. Mrs. Judy Stahly helped with a rendition of "Lyda Rose" from The Music Man. What a voice.
The New Pleasant Hill Choir was a special blessing to each of us. They are always willing to perform for us and never fail to come up with some great spirit lifters. Lordy, the talent that's in this town. Surely, we are twice or three times blessed with pure talent.
As the night progressed, Diane Boatwright told us about Thomas and his struggle with cancer. Diane has a way of making you see into her heart and soul and loving her all the more for it.
For the luminary service, Lana Langford stepped up to the plate with her velvet voice. As she sang, we walked around the track with all the luminaries glowing in quiet beauty, honoring those we love and in memory of those we have lost to cancer. At that point in time, I felt we were all one in spirit. What a beautiful and meaningful ceremony.
All night long the people of Atmore came to pay tribute to our fight against cancer. Elvis stopped by to entertain us with sweet music and whose wonderful scarves he gives away. I think for a moment in time some of us were bobby soxers' once again rockin' and rollin' with the the king.'
Thanks again Atmore for a really successful Relay for Life. For without you, the people, Relay would become verbiage with no meaning. It is the people who choose to give of themselves all year long to make Relay a success. Those people of Atmore who serve the public as well as Relay and help make it the booming succes it is. It is to those people that we wish to say thank you. You serve year after year with little or no appreciation at all, yet you choose to keep going in spite of it.
A big thank you and God bless.