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Walking Eagles

Pictured are members of the Walking Eagles Relay For Life Team presenting their $4,000 donation from the Walking Eagles Pumpkin Patch event held in October. In the front row from left to right: Steve Lovik, American Cancer Society; Mary Peterson; Marissa Mason; Twyla Stenzel; Jenny Christ; Harold Book; Carolyn Sunde, Chairman of Winnebago County Relay For Life; and Monica Solberg. Back row: Stuart Fleming; Courtney Wooge, President of FCIS; Robin Nelson; Jackie Kieffer; Jess Engquist; Renae Hope; Josh Pagel; Rob Isbell; Jake Brunscheon and Keila Buffington.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

FOREST CITY | Winnebago County Relay For Life received $4,000 from the Walking Eagles team for 2018.

The Walking Eagles were founded in 2005 by employees of FCIS in Forest City.

“The Walking Eagles Relay for Life team was founded by my father, Gaylord Wooge” said FCIS President Courtney Wooge. “He was looking for a way to use his farmland to make a positive impact on the community. One of our employees was battling cancer at that time and it was our way of providing support to her and others within our community.

“Our employees continue to give their all to make this a successful service project each year and have raised $42,271 since 2005 for Winnebago County Relay For Life; primarily through the proceeds of the Walking Eagle Pumpkin Patch event held every October. It was an even bigger challenge this year. We had severe weather on the day of our event forcing us to postpone it to the following day.

“I can’t thank my employees enough for their dedication to the Walking Eagles team, but this project wouldn’t even be possible without all the hard work of Harold Book. Harold has planted and tended each and every pumpkin plant for the last 13 years,” Wooge said.

Book, who is also battling cancer, does nearly all the farming by hand. “I can only use a cultivator while the plants are small,” Book said. “Once the vines get larger, I need to pull weeds by hand and it’s too dry, I use hoses connected to a 1,000-gallon water tank to water the plants. And then there’s the deer, they ate half of the 3,000 pumpkins I planted. It’s getting harder every year.”

The 2018 Winnebago County Relay For Life event is scheduled from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on June 23, 2018 on the Winnebago County Courthouse Square in Forest City. To sign up for a team or to contribute to the event, please go to www.relayforlife.org/winnebagocountyia? or contact Carolyn Sunde at csunde50@gmail.com or 515-577-7090.

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