Police prepare breakfast to support Relay for Life campaign

Doing their part to raise funds to support the city’s Relay for Life effort, members of the Pine Bluff Police Department fed breakfast to about 120 people Friday morning.

“When I came back, I wanted the department to get involved in more community activities and we had a breakfast for the department,” Interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said. “We fed the entire police department, some of the fire department and some people from City Hall. This was kind of an outgrowth from that.

“This was for a good cause and saying no was not an option,” he said.

Lanette Frazier, captain of the city’s Relay for Life team, said that so far, the campaign has raised more than $2,000. The goal this year is $4,000.

“This is something the city did last year with individual departments but this year the Mayor’s Office wanted a coordinated effort,” said Frazier, adding that 41 city employees have signed up for the team. The Relay for Life supports the American Cancer Society.

Hubanks, Deputy Chief Susie Powell, Lt. Shirley Warrior and the city’s Americorps cadets were all involved in the effort Friday morning, and Frazier said that not only were a number of city employees, but also a lot of citizens who learned about the breakfast at the last Community Forum.

“We had a lot of people giving money and paying for other people’s food,” Frazier said. “It gave you a heartfelt feeling to see people getting involved.”

For Powell, involvement with the Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society has taken on a special meaning. Powell lost two grandparents to cancer, and her father, Danny Powell, was diagnosed with Stage Four pancreatic cancer in September 2011, and died just over a month later.

“That was the hardest pill to swallow when I lost my dad,” Powell said. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him.”

In addition to Powell’s father, Hubanks said the department got involved to honor the memory of the late Officer Catherine Whiteside.

“She was a school resource office at (Robert) Morehead Middle School in the Dollarway District and even after she was diagnosed with Stage Four cancer, that didn’t stop her from going to work,” Hubanks said. “This year we created a special award for officers who have persevered through difficult times and circumstances.”

Frazier said city employees will be selling tickets for the annual Relay for Life Barbecue in May, which will go toward the $4,000 goal, and plan a luncheon later this month.

“We try to work around paydays,” she said.

Hubanks said Friday was payday for city employees so “people had an extra $5 or so they could spend.”