Kyle Troutman: A worthy and colorful cause

I never ceased to be amazed by the extent and variety of our local philanthropic organizations.

From the Cassville Education Fund’s support of our school teachers to the Cassville Community Foundation’s support of all things Cassville and Roaring River and the Soroptimist Club’s support of local women to the Cassville Rotary Club’s support of the Cassville community — and many, many more organizations I don’t have all the space to name — there is no shortage of neighbors helping neighbors in our slice of southwest Missouri.

One local organization, however, continues to surprise me year after year, and I had a front row seat to the show on Mother’s Day weekend.

Power of Pink, founded by Janice and Dale McCracken, of Fairview, delivered its annual round of donations to women battling breast cancer. Four recipients this year divided more than $53,000 to help in their fights, each receiving more than $13,000.

This money comes with no strings attached. Recipients can spend that cash on whatever they need at the time, and they do. From medical bills to utility bills and even vacations, Power of Pink supports local women diagnosed breast cancer in a way that gives them the power they deserve.

My wife, Jordan, and I donated to this worthy cause last year and intend to do so again at the end of this year. On May 10, we got to see a different side of what Power of Pink can do when it comes to fundraising.

We typically cover the organization’s walk and live auction at the Wheaton City Park the Saturday prior to Mother’s Day each year. Other than October pinkouts at volleyball and football games, the walk is the pinkest place you will ever be over the course of the year in Barry County.

This year, however, we opted to attend the annual Power of Pink banquet the Friday before, moved from the Fairview Community Building to the Wheaton High School gym.

A great barbecue meal gave way to this year’s new group of Pink Ladies receiving gifts and recognition, then a silent and live auction that took the better part of two hours.

With the the help of Brent Ferguson, pastor and auctioneer in Arkansas, Power of Pink raised more than $12,000 — 22% of its total donations this year — in an event where love and laughter permeated the room.

The Power of Pink community is a unique one for me. It’s not very often I walk into a room of 100-plus people in Barry County and not know at least a dozen local folks. However, this was an event where Jordan and I only knew two people, Janice and Dale.

With Dale’s background in rodeo as Gizmo the Rodeo Clown, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by the room. Many of them were clad in cowboy hats and boots, seemingly having cleaned up after working the hay fields earlier that day.

The rural farmer crowd in Barry County is not one you see gathered together in such a way that often, and it was a delight to be involved in another group with so many new faces.

By comparison, we recently participated in the annual Cassville Education Fund’s Trivia Night, and of the around 75 people in attendance there, we knew probably 90 percent of them.

Considering that event while at the Power of Pink banquet, Jordan and I could not help but wonder — how is this not even bigger?

The McCrackens have a wide reach and many, many friends and supporters, but there is certainly room for more.

This is an organization that raises and distributes all its funds locally, and it has been doing so for 14 years. This year’s amount raised was the most ever, and with the 15th annual event coming in 2025, I think it can do even better.

In those 14 years, Power of Pink has donated to 54 women, dubbed the Pink Ladies, and created a support portal for those women that they say has been paramount in their will to continue fighting.

Many of those women were present on May 10, and even more at the walk the next day. Their love for one another and for the local community support is incredibly touching and inspirational.

If you have never been to the walk or the banquet, I challenge you to show up in 2025. Of all of the worthy causes in Barry County to support, the work Power of Pink does is much needed and much appreciated.

I hope to see more familiar faces a year from now.

Kyle Troutman has served as the editor of the Cassville Democrat since 2014 and became Publisher in 2023. He was named William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist for daily newspapers in 2017, and he won a Golden Dozen Award from ISWINE in 2022. He may be reached at 417-847-2610 or ktroutman@cassville- democrat.com.

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