Organizers said the 13th annual Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation Chili Cook Off Nov. 9 in Houston was a huge success, raising $62,000 for TCMH Hospice of Care. The event included live music by the band Chrome 45, live and silent auction items and all the chili you could ever want.

All of the funds raised at the foundation event benefit TCMH Hospice of Care which provides end of life and grief support care for patients and their families in Texas County and the surrounding area.

Fifteen five-person teams participated in the event. Each team chose a theme and team name and began their fundraising efforts earlier in the year, each competing for one of the six coveted prizes: Team Fund-Raising Award.

The other five prizes teams competed for included Judge’s Choice, Spiciest Chili, People’s Choice, Best-Decorated Booth and Best TCMH Chili.

Winners in each category:

Judge’s Choice

First, Drury Panthers sponsored by Drury University

Second, Average Joe’s – TCMH ER sponsored by Dr. Selina Jeanise

Third, Chillin Villains – TCMH Lab sponsored by Dr. Bart Shaw

Spiciest Chili

Beano 911 sponsored by Texas County 911

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“The Thin Blue Crew,” Houston Police Department- sponsored by Brad and Melanie Evans, tied for third place in “People’s Choice.” From left, Sgt. Matt Woodmansee, Adam Stevenson, Jason Wink and Lt. Brad Evans.

People’s Choice

First, Happy Feet Chili sponsored by Raymondville United Methodist Church

Second, Lickin Fried Chicken—TCMH Licking Clinic sponsored by Dr. Doug Crase

Third, TIE The Price is Right sponsored by St. Farm Insurance – Justin Shelby & The Thin Blue Crew – Houston Police Department sponsored by Brad and Melanie Evans

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“Happy Feet Chili,” sponsored by Raymondville United Methodist Church, took home first place in “People’s Choice,” and third place in “Team Fundraising.” From left: Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director; Karen Geer, Jackie Duncan, Amy Wilson, Carol Honeywell and Linda Sullins.

Best-Decorated Booth

First, Chillin Villains – TCMH Lab sponsored by Dr. Bart Shaw

Second, Cave Man Chili sponsored by Walmart Supercenter – Houston

Third, The Price is Right sponsored by State Farm Insurance – Justin Shelby

Best TCMH Chili

Lickin Fried Chicken—TCMH Licking Clinic sponsored by Dr. Doug Crase

Team Fundraising

First, Lickin Fried Chicken—TCMH Licking Clinic who raised $3,690

Second, Cave Man Chili who raised $3,384

Third, Happy Feet Chili who raised $3,362


“Lickin Fried Chicken,” sponsored by Dr. Doug Crase, took home first place in the “Team Fundraising” category, second for “People’s Choice” and they won “Best TCMH Chili.” From left, Courtney Owens, TCMH Hospice of Care director; Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director; Calan Cooper, Melanie Scavone, Crase, Shelby Creek and Gina Pursifull.

 Ticket sales, the live and silent auctions, and team fundraising efforts are some of the main methods used to reach the fundraising goal.

 “This event would not be possible without the terrific support from our sponsors and incredible effort of the chili cook off teams,” said Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director. 

Team fundraising efforts alone raised $19,213 before and during the event.

Special recognition during the chili cook off was given to Steve and Diane Pierce for their tremendous fundraising efforts for TCMH Hospice of Care during their third annual Pierce Bass and BBQ event. Their annual event raised $5,400 for TCMH Hospice of Care.

To carry on the legacy of Diane’s parents, I.C. “Doc” and Margaret Keeney, and their devotion to TCMH Hospice of Care, the Pierce family wanted to do something to show their support for the organization. What started out as a cookout for friends and family, quickly turned into a full-scale fundraising event for TCMH Hospice of Care.

In 2017, the very first Annual Pierce Bass and BBQ event took place and the Pierce family held its third event in September this year.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of our community,” Steve Pierce said.

Pierce mentioned their appreciation to Justin Shelby, State Farm Insurance agent, for the hog he donated to their event and Willow Springs residents, John and Jeannie Beltz, who helped them purchase the beef that was auctioned off at the chili cook off.

The Beltzes have been longstanding supporters of TCMH Hospice of Care and partnered with the Keeney family for many years to purchase the beef to benefit hospice.

The three chili judges representing sponsors and supporters of the event were Jason Stone from Progressive Ozark Bank in Houston, Candy Haddock from Wehr Motors, Wehr RVs in Mountain Grove, and Dr. Linda Milholen, general surgeon, at Texas County Memorial Hospital.

Community members in attendance voted on “People’s Choice,” and TCMH employees voted on “Best TCMH Chili” with a ballot they received when entering the event.

Gentry noted that teams helped sell raffle tickets for a Mossberg Patriot .243 Winchester and a Kawasaki-brand utility vehicle that were raffled at the end of the event.

Jeff Browning of Laquey won the UTV, and Donna Crisp of Houston won the gun.

Donations came in the form of sponsorships by area businesses and local community members for chili teams, corporate and entertainment sponsorships, cash donations and donations of items for the auctions.

The foundation has a designated “Hospice Fund” where the cook off funds and other donations to TCMH Hospice of Care are held.

For questions about the chili cook off or to make a donation to TCMH Hospice of Care, call the TCMH Healthcare Foundation at 417-967-1377.

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