Exceptional turnout for 5th SOAR! Chili Cook-Off

One word- “Wow!” That would sum up our 5th SOAR! Chili Cook-off, which was held on March 14th.  We had an exceptional turnout and we are very elated at the amount of funds raised- $4,300.00- to help us in promoting adult and family literacy in Washington County.

We had seven teams compete this year along with two more non-competing teams with our “Hall of Fame” table.  In all, those who attended were able to try nine varieties of chili- ranging from white chili to pulled pork chili and from ghost pepper chili to down home chili. Also, those in attendance got to top their chili off this year- at the “chili bar.” Admission also includes peanut butter sandwiches along with a drink. 

This year’s chili teams did not hold back on the decorations- We had chili booth decorations from fireman, police, county fairs, spring, autism awareness and hillbillies too.  Awards were given to our chili teams for- Judged Best Chili, People’s Choice Best Chili and Best Decorated Booth. The recipients were: Judge Best Chili 1st place- Autism Awareness, Runner-up- Hunt Rippey Law. People’s Choice 1st place- Autism Awareness, Runner-up- Hillybilly Chili. Best Decorated Booth- Autism Awareness. I am very grateful for the teams’ participation and their excitement about competing. This year’s cook-off had an overall western theme, right down to the kid’s entertainment area.   

Also, new this year was the silent and live auctions! The auctions turned out to be a great addition! Tom Day volunteered his auction service and conducted the full fledged live auction. It made a nice fun fundraising addition to our Cook-off!  We look forward to having the auctions again next year.  

Being new at the helm, I was very excited at the turn-out of the cook-off and of the positive feedback.  I was overjoyed that everything came together and that our vision became reality!  But, to make the cook-off all come together I have to thank the following: All of our event table sponsors: Habanero- Jeans’ Extrusions and WSLM Radio; Jalapeno- Delta Kappa Gamma, Salem Crossing, First Harrison Bank and Leader Publishing; Pepperoncini Level- David W. Morris- Edwards Jones, Washington County Assessor’s Office, Jason Cockerill- Assessor, St. Vincent Salem Hospital, Ace Hardware-Bob Strange and Ron Haendiges State Farm Insurance. Our in-kind Donors- JayC Food Store of Salem, Arby’s , Christie’s, McDonald’s, Sav-A-Lot, Ace Hardware of Salem, Wendy’s, Cobblestone Inn and Suites, John Jones Automotive Group, Marion Spices, Big Splash Adventures, Dr. Black’s Eye Associates of Salem- Dr. Mindy Gunn, Hand & Co., Farmboy Photography, Huckster’s Hall, Dan Voyles Heating & Cooling, Hunt’s Hard Surface Solutions, Salem Barber Shop, Wayne’s Barber Shop, Leader Publishing, Shady Patch Farms, Troy Merry for Mayor, Denise & Frank Newkirk, Stephen & Rhonda Harris, Marilyn Hall and Tom Day. 

Also, a big thanks to our panel of judges, who took time out of their busy schedules to judge: Toni Brittingham with Christie’s on the Square and Vanessa Newkirk with Salem Apothecary and special tie-breaker judge Chuck Williams.

Tremendous thanks to everyone who helped with planning, set-up and clean-up of the event. Each one of you knows who you are and have been given a big squeeze. It takes a whole village to put on the Cook-Off, which is symbolic of it takes a whole community to increase the literacy rate of this community. 



The Dictionary Project

Thanks to our generous sponsors for donating to our 2014 "The Dictionary Project!" Now, 316 Washington County Third graders have their very own student dictionary. Volunteer Ken Powell and SOAR! Board member Alice Nevels, along with SOAR! Director Stephanie Rockey conducted The Dictionary Project, which included a short lesson, at all three elementary schools in the county.

Special Thanks to these Sponsors: American Legion Auxiliary, First Harrison Bank, Fox & Kristy Purlee, Frank & Denise Newkirk, Jeans' Extrusions, Larry & Terri Medlock, Norman & Anne Terrell, Rita Elliott, Roland & Anita Sturgeon, Ron Haendiges- State Farm Insurance, Salem Crossings, Salem Exchange Club, Salem Lions Club, Sherry & Jerry Hammond, Tom E. Scifres- Attorney At Law and Washington County Prevent Child Abuse


Thank You Salem Exchange Club!

Salem Exchange Club made a donation to our 2014 Dictionary Project. Accepting the check from Salem Exchange Club representative Debbi Hayes is SOAR! Director Stephanie K. Rockey.