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Cities, county endorse Relay
Officials bring personal cancer experiences to proclamation
new deh relay mayors pic
Barton County mayors, county officials and Relay for Life of Barton County representatives got together Monday evening recognizing a county-wide proclamation supporting the annual cancer-fighting event. Pictured left to right in the back are American Cancer Society representative Christine Brenner, Team Development Chairperson Kandi Wolf, Claflin Mayor Mike Urban, Albert Mayor Rod Cushenberry, Great Bend Mayor Mike Allison, Barton County Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz and Relay Chairperson Linn Hogg. Seated in front is Joe Hickel, one of the founders of the Barton County Relay. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Each year as the Relay for Life of Barton County nears, mayors of Barton County communities gather in Great Bend to support a county-wide proclamation backing the annual cancer fighting event.
The civic leaders met at the CPI Qualified Plan Consultants annex Monday night during a Relay team captain meeting in advance of the 17th Barton County Relay. It is set for June 10-11 in downtown Great Bend.
“There’s a lot of unity and cooperation,” said Joe Hickel, a former Ellinwood mayor. Hickel, who served as the chairman of the first Barton County relay in 1995 and is currently a cancer patient, organizes the joint resolution.
“We love them and we love what they do,” Hickel said of the county’s mayors. “Thank God we have people like you.”
“Relay for Life has touched me personally,” said Great Bend Mike Allison whose wife died of cancer, adding he wanted to thank all those who make the Relay possible. “We appreciate all you do .”
 Hickel countered a common complaint that money raised via Relays doesn’t benefit local patients. “A lot of that money comes back. I think it’s a worthy cause.” Relays for Life are the American Cancer Society’s primary fund-raising activities.
This teamwork is crucial, said Relay Chairperson Linn Hogg. For the last 10 years, the Barton County Relay has been number one in the state in terms of per-capita funds raised. “You guys show overwhelming support and the community knows that.” This year’s goal is $125,000.
Three of the nine Barton County mayors were present Monday, along with Barton County Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz. “It’s heartwarming to come from a community that uses its time and talents for something so positive,” she told the room full of team captains and relay volunteers.
“Whereas we are gathered here this evening to continue this effort and to recognize those who have died from cancer, those still recovering and those who survived,” the proclamation reads. “Now, therefore, we the mayors of Barton County do hereby proclaim June 11 and 12  as our Relay for Life Weekend.”
It is signed by all nine mayors.
The 2011 Relay for life of Barton County relay will open at 6 p.m. Friday, June 10,and wrap-up at 6 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at Jack Kilby Square in downtown Great Bend. The theme is “There’s No Place Like Hope,” based on the “Wizard of Oz.”
Last year’s relay, ended on a high note. With a goal of $115,000, it brought in over $120,000, the first Barton County relay in a couple of years to meet its target.
For more info on the Relay in general or to get involved, contact Hogg at 620-617-3640 or Team Development Chairperson Kandi Wolf at 620-797-5651.