Some Warriors Don’t Carry Weapons: Relay For Life of Sevier County Celebrates 20 Years of Hope

There are many groups here, but I am sure none work harder than Relay for Life of Sevier County. Relay For Life is an organization with the mission to raise money for cancer research and programming. The Sevier County Relay For Life group has raised over $3.8 million dollars for the American Cancer Society. Last Saturday was a 20 Year Celebration for the local organization—and it was a big one. Follow me downtown Sevierville to see activities during the 12 hour event.

First, I am going to share some of my favorite things for the general public. Then, I will share some things that I saw that will hit close to home for cancer survivors and caregivers. There is something for everyone at a Relay For Life event.

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I was happy to see plenty of parking and chairs, many in the shade. There was a schedule of events posted on Facebook and in the Mountain Press featuring free music and non-stop entertainment. Anyone can come down and enjoy the outdoors with the courthouse and Dolly statue in the backdrop.

 

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Citizens National Bank offered treats and the thrill of a dunking booth. This lady said that the water was a little chilly at the beginning of the day. What a good sport and supporter of Relay For Life.

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There were games and prizes. Surely, this team had the best smiles!

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Sophia and I had lunch from the Norma Dan Monkees team menu. Grilled right there! They chose ‘monkees’ as a name mascot because it is upbeat …and they are just fun!

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Serving burgers to benefit Relay For Life of Sevier County. They were great!

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More games from Tennessee State Bank. The candy pull game looked fun. Popcorn too.

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The crowds were huge at Dollywood so this family stopped by downtown and took advantage of some of the activities. Face painting was very popular.

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More games!

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Inflatables were a big draw for families.

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Low carb snacks. A huge plate for $2 !

There was a large selection of silent auction items. I am bringing more $ next year to do some birthday and Christmas shopping.

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There are only a few Smoky Mountain-Opoly games left. Sheriff Seals supported the Relay For Life event in person, and as a sponsor.

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Author, Missy Barrett, speaking with Tennessee Representative Dale Carr.

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I heard really good music all day. The band pictured above was quite popular. “Priscilla and Little Rickee” came from Chattanooga to play for the Relay For Life event.

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Late in the afternoon, past event Chairs and members of the first steering committee were recognized. These leaders have championed the fight against cancer to help others in Sevier County live better lives.

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With the courthouse in the background, Relay For Life of Sevier County teams receive a check $15,000  from the Smoky Mountain Wine Trail from the Pink Wines and Stomp Out Breast Cancer Walk. An amazing donation!

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I enjoyed the live auction under the direction of Dale Carr. He skillfully guided the bidding until the highest dollar was found.

To see a live auction is truly an amazing thing.

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As the sun set, I was waiting for the Luminaria ceremony to begin. One could donate a luminaria in memory of a loved one or to honor one who had battled cancer. I bought one for a sweet lady who had passed last year.

IMG_3226 Luminarias lined the street and served as a visual reminder of the terrible reach of cancer.

During the luminaria ceremony, each person was given a small candle.  The candle would be lit as they called out categories of loved ones affected by cancer. Then, there was a quiet memory walk around the courthouse to reflect on these loved ones.

The moment that the Boyd’s Creek Church of God choir began to sing “Amazing Grace” was somber and touching. I almost did not video this moment because it was so solemn, but I felt that it was important for people to see the beauty and dignity of the remembrance walk. As the choir sang, people took their candles and walked along the luminarias that lined the courthouse.

The Relay For Life of Sevier County teams worked hard for 12 hours to celebrate 20 years of important work that impacts our citizens. This group truly brings hope to those in our county who face the fear of cancer. Many thanks to Emily Kile who stepped out to create the group here 20 years ago when it was relatively unheard of. Thanks to other leaders and committee members who have worked on Relay events over the years. Thanks to the teams who worked so hard last Saturday. Finally, thanks to my friend Sophia Conerly, who has taught me more about this hard working group of people. I have seen them…and they are warriors.

I’ll end this article with some of the sponsors of this event—it would be difficult without their partnership and support.

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Relay For Life +SCHS Host ‘Hoops For Heroes’

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March Madness hit the SCHS gym last Saturday afternoon when local heroes battled it out on the hardwood for bragging rights—and to support one of the hardest working volunteer organizations in Sevier County. It was Hoops for Heroes to benefit Relay For Life.

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I walked in, paid the $5 admission, and said hello to the student volunteers. Many, many concessions were available. Have lunch there when you go next year.

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I was late so games were in full swing by the time I arrived. Six teams competed:  Pigeon Forge Police, Sevierville Police, Sevierville Fire, Pigeon Forge Fire, and two teams from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

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Above is a collage of four of the teams.I missed two of the shirts due to the speed of the players.  😉

Play was divided into 15 minute segments. There was a 5 minute break between games. Competition was fierce. Good recovery here!

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Sevier County High has a Relay For Life student chapter. Some of the organizers for this event were Leslie Mattern, Michael Maddron, and Ben Brabson. Scorekeepers were Beth Ownby and Ben Brabson.

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Officiating was strict! Officials were Scott Ward and Jason Ownby.

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Event co-chairs for the Hoops for Heroes event were Judy Bales (left) and Danette Rolen (right).

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Sevier County Mayor, Larry Waters; Judy Bales, event co-chair; and Brian McCarter support the Hoops for Heroes basketball competition.

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department team scores a basket.

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My friends, Wendy and Becky, cheering on the Sevierville Fire and Police Department teams.

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Our favorite, Officer Leia Loveday, getting ready to play for the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

A battle for the basket by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

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This was just part of the cheering section for the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Seals and his wife Wanda were enjoying the game, especially since they had two teams in the event.

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All eyes are on the ball!

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Becky Roberts and the parents of star player, Jaime Roberts. I saw him hit some three pointers.

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Players in the championship game.

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Relay For Life board members, Carlene Maples and Sophia Conerly enjoyed the event.

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This political message is paid for by Tad Wynn.

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I expected some of the players on the teams to be former high school players due to the skills. As I watched the Pigeon Forge Police Department, a couple of players stood out. I talked to this player at the end and then recognized him. This is Logan McCarter, an SCHS athlete and member of the class of 2013. Fun to watch him play again!

Some former high school hoops players shine on the hardwood.

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Brian McCarter brings his commentator skills to the Relay for Life Hoops for Heroes event. The team nicknames were priceless! (The Budgetbusters?) I am still laughing about that one.

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The scorekeeping was in good hands.

There was strong play in the championship game between the Sevierville and Pigeon Forge Police Departments.

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It was a battle, but the Pigeon Forge Police Department won the championship game; thus, they are the winners of the Hoops for Heroes event. Fierce play!

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department won the consolation game. Well played!

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Clearly, all participants and volunteers last Saturday were heroes, especially in helping the fight against cancer. If you wanted to find a hero, the SCHS gym was full of them in the picture above. Many thanks to them all.

This was a wonderful, family friendly event and I am so glad that I was able to see some of the games. I will arrive early next time. Be ready for next year because I think that this event will return with teams ready to ‘even the score.’ There may be even more teams. Lawyers? Moonshiners? Stay tuned! Relay for Life’s Hoops for Heroes was one of my favorite things to do this month. It was a good Saturday to get out and about in Sevierville.