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Nighttime lights of a different nature

AHOSKIE – These were twinkling lights of an entirely different format than typically seen during this time of the year.

The featured attraction each year at Relay for Life is the Luminaria Ceremony where thousands of lights flicker in the night in memory of those who have lost their battle vs. cancer or in honor of those who continue to fight the effects of the disease.

All local Relays were impacted this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop officials with the Hertford-Gates event from staging a delayed ceremony from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 at the Ahoskie Creek Amphitheater.

Due to the virus, this year’s ceremony (originally scheduled in April in Murfreesboro) was held drive-thru style as motorists slowly made their way past the luminaries that lined the curbside of the amphitheater. Those tributes included the normal luminary bags as well as the Flames of Hope.

Despite this year’s event cancellation, Hertford-Gates Relay officials wanted everyone to know they appreciated their support of the American Cancer Society through their local Relay event.

Presenting sponsors of the 2020 Hertford-Gates Relay were Metal Tech of Murfreesboro and Nucor Steel Hertford County.

Gold sponsors were Commercial Ready Mix Products, Nucor Steel Hertford employees, and Enviva Biomass.

Silver sponsors were as follows:

Drive Thru Food Stores/Jernigan Oil

Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald

Tennessee Steel Haulers

Bronze sponsors were as follows:

Gates County Sporting Dog Association

Murfreesboro Farms, Inc.

Sykes & Company, P.A.

Signature sponsors were as follows:

Ahoskie First Presbyterian Church of Ahoskie

GEO Group/Rivers Correctional Institute

Goose Creek Animal Hospital

Jenkins-Brown Insurance, Inc.

Jones Law Office

Nellie S. Chamblee, FNP

New Ahoskie Baptist Church

Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center

The Hale Family

Purple sponsors were as follows:

Minschew Capital Group, Inc. – Aflac Regional Office

Ahoskie Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Central Ford, Inc.

Godwin and Wood, Attorneys At Law, PLLC

Hofler Logging, Inc.

Lane Farm Supply, Inc.

S & M Timber Products, Inc.

Strickland Auto Group

“We would also like to recognize our in-kind sponsors who, due to this year’s event cancellation, did not have the opportunity to work with us as they had committed – Chowan University, Carter Machinery, Tequila Sunrise, and Lassiter Portable Toilets. However, we wanted each of you to know how much we appreciate your long-standing support of the Relay For Life of Hertford-Gates counties. We look forward to working with you again when it is safe to hold in-person events once more,” said Hertford-Gates Relay officials in a statement.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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