Annual Cancer Walk here raises money, honors service


Soaring temperatures and high humidity on Saturday afternoon didn’t deter a large group from turning out the Route 56 Campground on the Switzerland-Jefferson county line to raise funds for two worthy charities here in the county.

  Butch Konkle spearheads the event each year, as summer residents of the campground come together for a benefit walk and raise money for the Jeanne and Butch Konkle Fund and also the “Keeping Pace” Cancer Fund, both administrated through the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, Inc.

  Along with raising funds for those two endowments, each year donations are made to worthy organizations. This year at ceremonies held following the walk, six volunteer fire departments from around the area and state were given checks for $1,500. Departments honored on Saturday included: Jefferson-Craig Volunteer Fire Department here in Switzerland County; Brooksburg Volunteer Fire Department; Ryker’s Ridge Volunteer Fire Department; Madison #2 Volunteer Fire Department; the Spiceland, Indiana Volunteer Fire Department; and the Spencer Township Volunteer Fire Department, which is located in Hayden, Indiana In Jennings County, between North Vernon and Seymour.

  “Two of the departments have people on them who camp here; and the other four are just some that are serving our area here,” Konkle said. “All the ones I chose can use the money, because they don’t hire people, it’s all volunteers, so they can use the money.”

  Highlighting the day was the cancer walk, which Butch said almost everyone participated in despite the hot weather.

  “We had a pretty good turnout,” he said. “This year I did it a little different, instead of writing down the names on paper; this year we had about seven things that we gave away, so people just signed their name on the back of the tickets. Last year I had a count of how many was here. We didn’t have the turnout we had last year, but we still had a good turnout. This place was full when I was doing the presentations. There had to be at least 200 people. We had a pretty good turnout for the weather.”

  This is the third year that Konkle has coordinated and hosted the cancer walk, which he took on after the community ceased having its ‘Relay for Life’ event. Jeanne Konkle passed away from cancer four years ago, so the yearly event is a way to pay honor to her memory, while also raising funds to help those who are currently battling illness as well as assisting those organizations who give of their time and money to keep others safe.

  Butch said that prior to Saturday’s event he already had more than $5,000 in donations; and after all of the funds are counted, he estimates that it will raise about $12,000.

  Konkle thanked the members of the Switzerland County Lions Club, who were there on Saturday handling the cooking for the event; while Butch furnished drinks and other things that made the day enjoyable for all.

  “Most of all, I just want to thank everybody for showing up and participating,” Konkle said.

  “The people here are like family,” Butch continued. “From the time I first opened this campground, I’d say 75-percent of the people are still here. Everybody gets pretty close. It makes you feel good.”

  It was also a time for family for Butch Konkle, and his nephew, Troy Coker, and his family attended the event from their home in New Albany; and also in attendance was Merni Skirvin from Madison, Butch’s niece.

  “They’ve been here to the campsite, but this is the first time they’ve been to the cancer walk,” Konkle said.