The Eighth Annual Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation Chili Cook Off in Houston on November 8, raised $44,250 for TCMH Hospice of Care. About 300 people visited the Texas County Fairgrounds and the Community Building trying out 24 kinds of chili.
Chris Weaver, a member of the TCMH EMS “Road Kill Warriors” team, ladles up a chili sample.
The Healthcare Foundation sponsors the annual Chili Cook Off to benefit the TCMH Hospice of Care. Sixteen chili-cooking teams—outfitted with a team theme that ranged from football tailgating to Japanese garden to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–served up their best meat and bean, red or white, hot or mild chili recipes.
Donations came in the form of sponsorships by area businesses for chili teams, corporate and entertainment sponsorships, cash donations and donations of items for the auctions. Chili teams also raised money prior to the event and at the event. A live auction, silent auctions, raffles and a cakewalk also provided entertainment during the day.
Jay Gentry, director of the Healthcare Foundation, and Courtney Owens, director of TCMH Hospice of Care, organized the Chili Cook Off.
“Once again we received tremendous support from area businesses and individuals in donating to this important community cause,” Gentry said.
Attendees poured in to the Fairgrounds to taste chili and take part in the festitivies.
24 different types of chili at the 8th cook off
Dr. Christopher Baldwin, Tracey Arwood, Dr. Diana Koenig and their clinic staff had old-fashioned Coca-Cola in bottles and Crackerjacks to sell as part of their St. Louis Cardinals themed booth. Houston High School Future Business Leaders of America had a “Technolochili” booth complete with an interactive display and special chili flavorings invented by the FBLA group.
Fritos, cheese, onions, sour cream and milk were served up as accompaniments to the chili, and a few competitors served up “mild” and “hot” pots of chili.
Houston FBLA Technolochili featured special sauces for the chili samples that were developed by the Houston High School club.
Homemade cakes and cookies were given away at the Hospice of Care cakewalk booth. For a dollar, the cakewalks were enjoyed by young and old alike. The Hospice of Care staff also held silent auctions for homemade cakes and other treats.
Silent auctions featuring baskets of seasonal decorations, pet supplies and beauty products; artwork by local artists and tickets and gift certificates to various places in the area. The silent auction items were donated to Hospice of Care for the event.
The individual teams held raffles and silent auctions for their teams, too.
A chili dog eating contest featured chili cook off team members, local business owners and a few hospital physicians. Chris Weaver of Houston and the Roadkill Warriors cook off team won the contest.
“Miso Spicy” a chili cooking team from Community Bank N.A. won 1st place for the 3rd year in a row with their booth decorations and theme.
Chili booths were decorated in many different ways. The Houston School Administration “Chili Builders” theme featured blocks salvaged from the old cafeteria and principals outfitted in hard hats and neon vests . The Houston Walmart Supercenter crafted a “rocket” for their “Chili That’s Out of This World” theme. The “Landmark Tailgaters” from Landmark Bank in Houston had a football theme that featured a goal post and playing field.
The Healthcare Foundation held two raffles as a way to raise money prior to and during the event. Eric Wells of Houston won the rifle. Shannon Smith of Licking won the pop up camper.
Shannon Smith of Licking won the pop up camper, the large raffle item that all teams sold tickets for.
Three chili judges representing sponsors and supporters of the event were Earleen Holder from Progressive Ozark Bank in Houston, Jay Loveland from Wehr Motors of Mountain Grove, and Justin Shelby of State Farm Insurance in Houston. Prizes were given to the chili teams who were competing in several different categories.
“Judge’s Choice” and first place went to “Landmark Tailgaters” for their mild, white chili.
Landmark Bank “Tailgaters” won the Judges’ Choice top prize for their mild chili–a white chili.
The cook off judges awarded second place to “Power Chili” Intercounty Electric Cooperative also for their mild chili. The third place “Judge’s Choice” went to “Old Country Doc” sponsored Mercy Clinic of Houston.
“Chili with the Most Kick” prize also went to “Big Country 99ers Brewhahahahaha” which entered a “hot” and a “mild” chili in the contest.
First place in the “Best Booth” decorating category for the third year in a row went to Community Bank N.A. for “Miso Spicy”–a booth and costumes with a Japanese garden theme. Decked out in pink camouflage, the TCMH
Medical Surgical department won second place with their “Pink Ladies” booth. The “TCMH Speculators”—Baldwin, Arwood, Koenig and their staff–won third place for their baseball concessions theme.
Everyone in attendance was given a ballot to vote for the “People’s Choice” in chili. The “FBLA Technolochili ” won first place in the people’s choice category followed by “Road Kill Warriors—TCMH EMS” in second place and “TCMH Speculators” in third place.
TCMH employees in attendance were given the opportunity to vote for the “TCMH Choice” and the TCMH EMS “Road Kill Warriors” also won the hospital employee award—their fifth time to claim the prize in eight years of competing.
The Chili Cook Off Teams contributed a large amount to the funds raised for Hospice of Care, contributing a total of $16,574. Chili-cooking teams raised money for their teams prior to and during the cook off. Eight teams raised over $1,000 apiece.
TCMH EMS “Road Kill Warriors” won first in “Team Fundraising” by raising $2,735. Second place for team fundraising went to “Chili That’s Out of This World” for raising $2,026. Third place went to “TMNT—TCMH Home Health of the Ozarks” for raising $1,635.
Chris Weaver, a member of the TCMH EMS “Road Kill Warriors” team, ladles up a chili sample.
Prior to the live auction portion of the event, Dr. Gretchen Price, medical director for TCMH Hospice of Care, spoke to those in attendance.
“Hospice of Care is does everything they can to make sure that the patient and their family are comfortable until the end,” Price said.
Price recounted a personal experience with a patient that was hospitalized while in hospice care.
“The Hospice of Care staff helped the family of the patient bring in and show videos from 1988—a happy year in the patient’s life,” Price said, noting that all of the hospice care is “specialized” for each patient’s needs.
“Thank you for what you are doing here today to help the great work of Hospice of Care,” Price said.
“Your donations really make a difference, and we greatly appreciate the hard work done by all of the teams to help put on this event,” Price said.
Brandon Beck, master of ceremonies
Brandon Beck, master of ceremonies and meteorologist at KY3 television station in Springfield, also applauded the “wonderful cause” and explained that his 84-year old grandmother died under hospice care earlier in the year.
“I had never experienced hospice before,” Beck said, noting that the hospice caregivers worked with he and his family members in understanding what to expect in the process.
“We all knew death was coming, but it was so helpful to have hospice care there,” Beck said.
Families that were in Hospice of Care service in 2014 and previous years were present at the Cook Off. Some families also made donations to the Healthcare Foundation to benefit Hospice of Care at the Chili Cook Off.
Harold Mitchell made a cedar blanket chest and donated it in memory of his mother, Caroline Mitchell, a patient of Hospice of Care. Carolyn Mason pieced and quilted a quilt in honor of Cecil Biram. Deborah Kell donated a framed and numbered waterfowl print in honor of her late husband, Jim Kell.
The live auction featured numerous handcrafted items, including this Noah’s Ark carved by the Lake Ozark Woodcarver’s Association.
“We could not do what we do without the community support and partnerships that we have,” Gentry said to those in attendance.
Owens also thanked attendees for their support of Hospice of Care.
“The Hospice staff and I are incredibly impressed and thankful for the community support that has been shown to us,” Owens said.
The TCMH Hospice of Care Team
Owens commended the teams that put in a long day making and serving chili as well as the time they put in creating teams with themes, decorating booths and raising money prior to and at the event.
After Saturday’s event, the cook off raised $31,299 in cash donations and $12,951 in in-kind donations. All the proceeds raised by the Chili Cook Off support Hospice of Care and remain in Texas County to benefit area residents.
The Healthcare Foundation has a special “Hospice Fund” where the Cook Off funds and other donations to Hospice of Care are held.
Plans are already underway to hold the Ninth Annual TCMH Healthcare Foundation Chili Cook Off on Sat., Nov. 7, 2015. More details about the event will be available from the TCMH Healthcare Foundation.