Hundreds of Greensburg residents have walked in the Relay for Life in the 15 years since it began in Decatur County, and most residents at least know what it is, but what isn’t known is what motivates each team.
With the 15th annual event coming up June 21, it might be nice to learn more about the teams and why they are involved with the Relay for Life. While some of the teams walk in general support of the community and the fight against cancer, many of the teams walk in honor or memory of a specific person in addition to supporting all those who have died of cancer. The Daily News will feature one or two different Relay for Life teams each week until the event in a spotlight about what inspires each group.
This week’s spotlight will focus on the McCullough Clan. The team has been part of the relay since the first year and they walk in memory of John David McCullough, who passed away from liver cancer in February of 1969. Born March 17, 1929, he was the husband of Anna (Dwenger) McCullough and the father of 11 children. The McCullough Clan is composed mainly of his children and grandchildren.
John worked on his father’s farm in his youth, but after his marriage to Anna in August of 1952, they moved to Indianapolis where they owned and ran a small corner grocery store. He later got a job at Westinghouse in Bloomington, but always wanted his own farm. When John found a 240 acre farm for sale in Bloomfield, he and Anna bought it and moved so he could fulfill his dream. He farmed all day and worked at the factory on second shift.
The land hadn’t produced much for the last several years, so they got an excellent deal on the property. John consulted with a soil specialist and got the nutrients he needed to produce the yields he wanted from his crops.
John farmed the land there until his illness prevented him from working, about three months before his death. John only lived six months after his cancer was discovered. At the time, doctors had no success treating liver cancer. After John died, his family moved into a large house in Millhousen and sold the farm because they couldn’t work the land without him.
John’s wife and children all have different memories of him, but each one paints him as a compassionate man who loved his family and wasn’t afraid of hard work. His daughter Beverly (McCullough) Maggard remembers his love of fishing, mushroom hunting, and riding horses.
One special memory that has always stayed with her is him helping her with her spelling words. She was having trouble and kept missing words. In defeat, she said, “I just can’t do this.” John got angry, the only time she can remember him doing so, and said, “You are a McCullough, there is nothing that you can’t do.” Maggard said she will always remember her father’s advice that she can do anything- all she has to do is try.
The McCullough Clan fondly remembers John David McCullough and walks in the Relay for Life every year hoping to bring the world one step closer to a cure for cancer. While cancer took him out of this world long ago, John lives on through the hearts and memories of the loved ones he left behind.
Recent economic hardships have made it difficult to raise all the money each team is suppossed to collect. To balance this, there will be a Relay for Life yard sale June 8 and 9 in the center building at the Decatur County Fairgrounds, as well as a yard sale at the event itself. Donations can always be made at the American Cancer Society's website, where one can search for individual teams and cities.
The Relay for Life team spotlight will be a regular feature until the day of the event. Any teams interested in being featured should put together some basic information about their team and the person they walk for. Pictures are a nice addition, but are not required. Please contact Amanda Browning for more information about team spotlights and the necessary information.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004