This past year's Relay for Life in McDuffie County was the best yet. And those who helped to make the American Cancer Society fundraiser a success got a chance to celebrate on Tuesday.
Team captains, participants and organizers of the 2005 Relay for Life gathered for an awards luncheon at White Columns to recognize this year's effort. McDuffie Relay Co-Chair and Thomson Mayor Bob Knox announced that a final tally of $220,773 had been raised from this year's festivities.
Mayor Knox said the more than $10 per capita raised this year should definitely make McDuffie one of the country's best Relays once again. He was also proud of the 10 percent increase in corporate sponsorships over last year.
Participants were treated to a buffet lunch, and awards for decorations, best teams, and most money raised were given out. Everyone agreed that McDuffie County is a place where the Relay is of great importance.
"I've never seen a county do so much for a Relay," said Melinda Thompson who received the unsung hero award. "This county gives 150 percent. I was amazed."
A record four teams raised more than $10,000. Those teams include Thomson First Baptist, First United Methodist and the City of Thomson. The Temple Inland team raised $16,600 and was recognized as the best team.
"It was more than a team effort. It was a plant effort that involved all employees," said Boyd Lake, human resources manager at Temple Inland. "Thanks should go to (Co-Chairs) Bob and Peggy for putting it all together."
Another record for this year's Relay was that 51 teams participated, up from last year's 44. More new teams - 11 of them - were represented at the event, too. Also, the school system as a whole was recognized for its several teams that raised $20,839.
"I'm really overwhelmed by the generosity of this community," Relay Co-Chair Peggy Willis said to the group. "We could not be number one without you."