Crestview contributes to Okaloosa's top Relay for Life honor

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Cal Brooks, the American Cancer Society's Panhandle Area executive director, Tracy Ward and Krystal Jackson, of the Crestview Relay for Life, and Shelly Miller, Emerald Coast unit board chair, smile after receiving recognition for Okaloosa County's top fundraising efforts.

Special to the News Bulletin
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 01:56 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Krystal Jackson, the Hub City's Relay for Life event chair, credited local residents for contributing to Okaloosa County's fundraising success.

The county's fundraising efforts for the annual event, which benefits the American Cancer Society, made it No. 1 per capita for 2012, the organization announced Thursday. Relay teams in Crestview, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach and Destin reportedly raised more than $524,000 during last spring's events.

Crestview's contributions ranked 24th among Florida's more than 350 Relay teams, officials said. Fort Walton's donations ranked seventh in the state.

Each city's efforts propelled Okaloosa to the top spot — a first for this northwest Florida area, said Shelly Miller, the American Cancer Society Emerald Coast's operating chair.

“Considering Relay for Life events are held in 50 states and more than 20 countries around the globe, this is such an amazing accomplishment for our relatively small population,” said Cal Brooks, the American Cancer Society's Panhandle area executive director. “The strength and sheer dedication of our volunteers and staff made this possible.”

"We feel blessed to have the support from the Crestview community," Jackson said following the event. "To have this recognition is overwhelming."

Sponsored teams of organizations, churches, friends and family members annually spend one night camping out, take turns walking and running on a racetrack and commemorate those diagnosed with cancer.

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