By Rep. DAN KELLEY
On Memorial Day, I had the honor of attending a proclamation signing at Camp Dodge. Governor Branstad proclaimed Patriot Outreach Day in Iowa. Patriot Outreach is an organization made possible by a dedicated group of Americans who share a common concern for the health and well-being of the brave men and women who defend liberty and our nation.
The organization's mission is twofold:
First, to provide private and confidential access to simple and effective resources to all military personnel, veterans, retirees, government civilians, battlefield contractors and their families who are troubled or suffering as a result of stressful or traumatic experiences while in the service of our nation.
Second, Patriot Outreach provides a forum whereby concerned and experienced professionals an share their expertise and experience in helping those who serve our nation.
I have become active with Patriot Outreach and served as lead sponsor on a bipartisan proclamation in the Iowa House. The proclamation passed the House unanimously during the 84th Iowa General Assembly. It also passed the Senate. I was proud to see the Governor sign it on behalf of our soldiers.
Patriot Outreach has many friends in the racing community. In fact, A.J. Foyt's car in the Indy 500 featured Patriot Outreach. Also, the Iowa Speedway generously provided the organization with fundraising opportunities during last year's IndyCar weekend. On June 9, I will join Patriot Outreach Upper Midwest Regional Director Lee Booton to judge the Scrap Iron Kings Car Show in Jewell, Iowa. These sponsors and others help make the work of Patriot Outreach possible.
If you or someone you know requires help with post-traumatic stress disorder, please visit patriotoutreach.org. You can also read the proclamation as it is posted on the web site. Director Booton and other Patriot Outreach organizers appreciate donations which can be made through the web site. For more information on the upcoming car show, go to the scrapironking.com web site. Consider joining us in Jewell on June 9. You'll see a lot of cool cars and enjoy fun for the whole family in support of a great cause.
Please also come out to H.A. Lynn Stadium in Newton on Friday for the 16th Annual Relay for Life of Jasper County. In previous years I have served as Fundraising Team Coordinator for our local event. This year I have been asked to put on my DJ hat and serve as master of ceremonies. Please come out and help us top last year's total of nearly $60,000.
Ninety-six of Iowa's 99 counties host a Relay for Life benefit for the American Cancer Society. Volunteers from every community in our county will come together for a night of fun, fundraising and remembrance. Our county-wide Relay for Life is regarded as one of the best organized and most successful in the state.
Most everyone's life has been touched by cancer. Can you name family, friends, co-workers, or fellow church members who have fought cancer? Are you a cancer survivor? I became involved in Relay for Life in memory of my grandma, Lois Maddy, after she ended her battle with cancer in 2007. Please consider attending the Relay in honor of someone close to you.
The night will kick-off at 6 p.m. with the Survivor's Lap. Cancer survivors are encouraged to come to the stadium between 5:15 and 5:45 p.m. to receive a "Survivor" t-shirt. There are lots of folks who work very hard to put the Relay together, but the stars of the evening are the survivors, easily identified by their purple shirts.
At dusk, the luminary ceremony provides an opportunity to remember those who have ended their battle with cancer and honor cancer survivors. Please consider donating at least $10 for a luminary in honor or memory of a friend or loved one. Contact Jeff Pence at 641-792-5125 to make a donation to the luminary display portion of the Relay. To make an online donation to one of the Relay for Life of Jasper County fundraising teams, go to the Relay for Life of Jasper County web site.
By attending or helping with this event, you are part of an organized movement to put a cure for cancer and effective care at the top of our agenda. Watch the survivors walk the first lap. If each survivor can successfully battle cancer, our nation can come together and defeat it.
Iowa makes a mjaor contribution to the these efforts. At the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals, $74.2 million is spent annually on cancer-related research funding. A total of $427 million of cancer patient care is delivered by the UI Hospitals and Clinics and faculty physicians. At U of I Hospitals and elsewhere, the treatment of cancer in children has been among the most successful treatments in the history of medicine. Over 80 percent of these children are cured and progress is ongoing. Your contributions to the Relay for Life of Jasper County benefit these efforts made by Iowans.
As a legislator, I will always keep the battle against cancer high on my list of priorities. At the request of the American Cancer Society, Livestrong and several other cancer-fighting organizations, I've joined three fellow legislators to form a bipartisan Legislative Cancer Caucus. Other members are Rep. Scott Raecker, R-Urbandael, Sen. Pat Ward, R-Clive, and Sen. Joe Bolkom, D-Iowa City. Our primary goal is to ensure our fellow legislators keep the fight against cancer a priority.
Feel free to contact me any time at 641-521-9260 or dan.kelley(at sign)legis.state.ia.us. Visit my web site at electkelley.com and friend me on Facebook. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.