Lunch was nice, but it was success that tasted the best for the volunteers and team leaders who celebrated “another record year” of fund-raising for the American Cancer Society’s 2007 Relay for Life.

This year, volunteers in Brown County raised a grand total of $74,805, announced Alice Salazar, co-chair for the event held at Gordon Wood Stadium the first weekend in June. That amount includes in-kind gifts, but in actual cash, Salazar said, $65,528 was raised, “to break another all-time record for Brown County.”

“That’s money going for the fight against cancer,” said Salazar. “This is a great community and the fact that people really open up and give for this cause, especially when there are so many agencies and causes that need money — it’s awesome.”

The luncheon Wednesday honored “and thanked” the team leaders and volunteers. Tammy Robinson, co-chair with Salazar, said the 2007 Relay had 34 teams and 92 survivors and 69 caregivers registered at the event.

The team from Brownwood Wal-Mart, led by Terri Garrett, raised the single largest amount for any team with its collection of $10,872. As the top team, Garrett accepted the Dennis Thacker Memorial Award.

Dennis Thacker’s widow, Wanda Thacker, their daughters and families, received a trophy for raising the second highest amount. Salazar announced “Team Thacker” raised $4,780, but in accepting the award Wanda Thacker handed over another check for $250.

“We wanted to raise more than $5,000 and this check will get us there,” she said. “Now we’ll get ready for 2008.”

Howard Payne University’s team raised the third highest amount, contributing $2,255.

Brownwood Regional Medical Center received a special award. Eight of the 34 Relay for Life teams were organized from volunteers at the medical center. Those eight teams raised, in total, $9,595, Salazar said.

The 2008 Relay is scheduled for the first weekend in June, and Salazar and Robinson said planning meetings would probably begin in January, then meet every two weeks. But in a slight change, Robinson said, the women are preparing to hand over the chairmanship.

“We’ve had it for two years, and we’ve loved it, and we will certainly continue to participate, but so that others can pick up, we are going to be ‘shadowed’ this year by two future co-chairs,” Robinson said.

Bill Owen and Wanda Thacker have stepped forward as the “shadows” and are planning to chair the event on their own in 2009.