Pioneers in Purple Kicks Off Relay for Life Campaign

Standing front row: Left to right: Erica Baker Norris and Roberta Jackel. Standing back row: Left to right: Mary B. Roberson, Carolyn Matthews, Oline Price, Team Co-Captain and Patricia A. Jones, Team Captain. Not Pictured: Cheryl Gladden, Beth Witten, Lynda Tremaine, Barbara Patton, LaFaye Dellinger, Shelia Eckman, Tiffany Gibson Pitts, Connie Taylor, Verlinda White and Jessica Ventiere. PHOTO BY ROBERT NOLES / THE OBSERVER


 Patricia A. “Patsy” Jones broke new ground at the 2016 Lee County Relay for Life when she assembled a new team composed of Lee County’s elected women officials to raise money for the Power in Purple Campaign of American Cancer Society. Power in Purple has been a new National Event set in all states to raise funds for cancer research and patient services. Lee County inaugural team coordinated by Jones does compete among themselves and 30 other teams in the South Eastern Region for one month and wins the region’s contest. Although American Cancer Society is not featuring this campaign anymore, the Pioneers in Purple of Lee County Women Elected Officials past and present have stayed organized and are committed to eradicating cancer and to serving the community. The Team is competing among themselves to raise $20,000 for the Lee County Relay for Life using October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” as a starting goal. The fundraising impacts the Lee County Community and the American Cancer Society through services and resources for patients and their families along with research and grants for the East Alabama Medical Center. Donations can be made to the members of Pioneers in Purple by using the link:

For the past two years the Pioneers in Purple have raised over $33,000 for the Lee County Relay for Life. This year, the Team is raising funds in memory of teammate,  Anne Grady, who raised funds in memory of her son-in-law that led the Pioneers in Purple to win the South Eastern Region Campaign. Honorable Grady was the first woman councilor and first woman president of the Opelika City Council and one of the inaugural members of Pioneers in Purple. The Team has personal connection to cancer and want to work together and join hands to support all cancer survivors in Lee County. Representing Team Pioneers in Purple are 16 former and present elected women officials in Lee County Governments: City of Opelika –  Patricia A. “Patsy” Jones, former first African American woman member and first African American woman president pro tem of Opelika City Council and Captain of Team;  Barbara Patton former first woman mayor of Opelika;  Tiffany Gibson Pitts former member of Opelika City Council;  Erica Baker Norris present member and president pro tem of Opelika City Council; City of Auburn –  Cheryl Gladden, former member of Auburn City Council,  Roberta Jackel, former member of Auburn City Council;  Carolyn Matthews, former member of Auburn City Council;  Lynda Tremaine, former member of Auburn City Council;  Beth Witten, present member and mayor pro tem of Auburn City Council;  Verlinda White former member of Auburn City Council;  Connie Taylor present member of Auburn City Council; City of Smiths Station –  LaFaye Dellinger, former first mayor of Smiths Station; Lee County –  Oline Price, present Lee County Revenue Commissioner and Co-Captain of Team;  Shelia Eckman, former Lee County Commissioner and former member of Auburn City Council; Mary B. Roberson, present Lee County Circuit Clerk and  Jessica Ventiere present Lee County District Attorney. 

The Lee County Relay for Life Event is scheduled for April 29, 2022 at the Lee County Courthouse Square in Opelika.


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