Mo & Terry Smedley


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Relays for Life in Grays Harbor were held the weekend of June 3.  One more time, the funds raised by the event broke all previous records.   Grays Harbor has historically raised more per-capita in this event than most communities across the country.   Rumor has it that Grays Harbor is at the top of the "per-capita" list, but I wasn't able to confirm that - so I'll stick with "more than most".

While we're a "small" community, in some ways people who live here are part of a much larger community than those who live in typical urban areas.  You can't pick up the paper in Grays Harbor and not recognize many of the individuals mentioned.  When cancer strikes our newspaper editor or shopping mall manager, we know who those people are.    I think that makes you feel much more part of the broad community compared to being an anonymous member of a huge, urban group.  That sense of community makes the people of Grays Harbor incredibly generous.   Make no mistake about it - Grays Harbor is in tough economic shape.   Un- and under-employment is very high.  Family wage jobs in resource-dependent industries like timber and fisheries are disappearing rapidly.  But still this community responds whenever there's an unmet need, whether that be the Relay for Life, or funding a new emergency room for the hospital, or building a new YMCA facility.   If you're stuck in the quagmire of urban living - give small town America a try.  It has a lot to offer.

It's a sobering experience to make a list of all the people you know that have been affected by this disease.  Some are survivors, others are victims.  When you look over the list it makes you boiling mad that with a federal budget approaching three trillion dollars this year we can't make the eradication of cancer a national priority.  It's easy enough to take potshots at an Iraq war price tag that is now in excess of 300 billion dollars (*), but there's plenty of blame on both sides of the political aisle.

(*) This number is based on analysis found in these Congressional Research Service documents

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Mo "warms her buns" at her team's tent while waiting for the Luminary ceremony on Friday night. It's always a moving sight to see the Luminaries from across the field. Mo set out Luminaries for just a portion of those we know that have been affected by cancer. Pam Olsen, my sister - a seven-year survivor.
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Kathryn Skolrood (former City of Hoquiam Finance Director) and good friend Sandy Thomas Mildred D'Almeida, mother of good friend Patty Mo's Dad Ken McGuire and Uncle Paul Lauzier Thelma Wisdom, Vera's mother
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Rose Wetmore and Louise Richardson, Mo's aunts Pearl Hopkins, good friend of Kathy's A sunny Saturday for the last few hours of the relay. This cat was helping out, too!
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The City of Hoquiam team, of which Mo was a member, raised over $3,500 this year.  Thanks for your support!     Harold Lloyd, Olympian leader and ex-Rayonier employee, lost his battle with cancer on May 23 of this year.