The chili cook off is the major fund-raiser for Hospice of Care. (File photo)

The second annual Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation Chili Cook raised more than $35,000 in donations to benefit TCMH Hospice of Care. More than 400 people attended Saturday’s event, including 19 chili-cooking teams.

Donations came in the form of sponsorships by area businesses for chili teams, corporate and entertainment sponsorships, cash donations and contributions of items for the auctions. Chili teams also raised money before and at the event. In addition to musical entertainment, a live auction, homemade pie auction and cakewalk also provided entertainment.

Mary Hunninghake, chairperson for the Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation, chaired the committee that organized the event.

“I am once again very pleased with the turnout for the event and the support we received from area businesses and individuals in donating to this important cause,” she said.

A festive atmosphere filled the fairgrounds Saturday as attendees poured in to taste more than 20 different types of chili. Chili booths were decorated in everything from a baby nursery called “Special Delivery Chili” by the TCMH obstetrics department to “lifeguards” wearing swim attire and sun block on their noses at the “Chiliguards” booth by Houston Community Betterment Y.O.U.T.H.

St. John’s physician, Mike and Ann Busha and Tricia Benoist with the “Lone Star Chili” team served up corn pancakes in addition to Mike Busha’s own recipe for “Texas-style chili.”

Hospice of Care staff sold homemade sweets as well as running a cake walk and homemade pie auction at the event.

The foundation held three raffles to raise money before and during the event. Shannon Minter won the motorized scooter and Bill Bridges a tripod tree stand. Chase Foster took home the rifle.

Three chili judges represented sponsors of the event: Bill Senter from Tree Terminator in Plato, Cordie Wimberley from Souls Harbor Family Worship and Earleen Holder from Progressive Ozark Bank, both in Houston. Prizes were given to the chili teams who were competing in several different categories.

Awards were given:

“Judge’s Choice” first place went to “Century 21 Round Up” sponsored by Century 21 Show-Me Realty, and second place was a tie between “Lone Star Chili” sponsored by St. John’s Clinic-Houston and “Community Bank Amigos” sponsored by Community Bank NA of Summersville.

“Chili with the Most Kick” first place went to “Team BYBOE” sponsored by the TCMH EMS department, and second place went to “Doc Rasmussen Wild West Chili” organized by Dr. Charlie Rasmussen of the TCMH Family Clinic in Houston.

First place in the “Best Booth” decorating category went to “Team Wild Card” organized by Bradford Funeral Home, and second place went to “Special Delivery Chili” sponsored by the TCMH obstetrics department.

Everyone in attendance was given a ballot to vote for the “People’s Choice” in chili. “Doc Rasmussen’s Wild West Chili” won first in the People’s Choice category, and “Chilz,” the Houston FBLA team sponsored by The Durham Co., won second.

TCMH employees in attendance were given the opportunity to vote for the “TCMH Choice,” and “Special Delivery Chili” won first and “Team BYBOE” took second.

Chili-cooking teams raised money for their teams before the cook off, and during the cook off teams raise money at their booths through a variety of means such as a gold digging game for kids, T-shirt sales, raffles and silent auctions. “Team Wild Card” won first in “Team Fundraising” for the second year in a row, raising $5,003 this year. Second place for team fund-raising went to “Wal-Mart Hoppin’ Haban’eros,” sponsored by Houston Wal-Mart Supercenter in Houston, for raising $695.

“The Healthcare Foundation raised over $23,000 in donations for hospice at the 2007 Cook Off,” said Jay Gentry, director of the TCMH Healthcare Foundation. “We are very pleased to have far exceeded our goal of $25,000 for the 2008 cook off.”

Before the live auction portion of the event, John Beltz of Willow Springs spoke about his family’s personal experience with Hospice of Care when his son, Andy, passed away. Beltz shared a poem he had written about Hospice of Care.

All the proceeds raised by the event support Hospice of Care and remain in Texas County to benefit area residents.

The foundation has a special “Hospice Fund” where the Cook Off funds and other donations to Hospice of Care are held. The foundation plans to use funds raised for Hospice of Care to create a room in the hospital’s planned medical surgical floor expansion that will be dedicated for use by hospice patients that require hospitalization while in Hospice care.

Melissa Bosserman, TCMH Hospice of Care administrator and licensed social worker for Hospice of Care, described being “blown away” by Saturday’s event.

“We were incredibly impressed and thankful for the community support that was shown,” she said.

Bosserman commended the teams that put in a long day making and serving chili as well as the time they put in creating teams with themes, decorating booths and raising money prior to and at the event.

“It’s so cool to see the community support our chili teams and Hospice of Care at this event,” Bosserman said, adding, “It’s wonderful.”

Plans are already underway to hold the third annual TCMH Healthcare Foundation Chili Cook Off in 2009. More details about the event will be available from the TCMH Healthcare Foundation.

See a slideshow of pictures from Saturday’s event at

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