September 28, 2001 11:00 pm

Walk-a-thons and fund-raising relays are alive and well as the 21st century picks up steam. La Grande has two examples of such events under way today at area tracks.

A walk-a-thon in memory of professor Rita Monahan began at the Eastern Oregon University track at 10 this morning. The event, honoring the late EOU nursing professor, raises funds for scholarships and to help nursing students pay their state exam fees.

With a nursing shortage evident throughout the Northwest, any efforts to encourage students to take up the profession are welcome. The scholarships and money for exam fees will be deeply appreciated by recipients. If the walk-a-thon encourages one or two local nursing school students each year to stay with the program and enter the profession, then all the footsteps on the track will be well worth it.

A few blocks to the west, the fourth annual Union County 24-Hour Relay is under way. The event, which began at 10 a.m. on the La Grande High School track, represents the efforts of local people to create a drug-free community for our youth. Teams with 10 members each will continue to circle the track until 10 a.m. Sunday.

The amazing thing about this event is that those walking or jogging have paid to participate. The 24-hour Relay registration fee is $40 a person or $400 per team. Proceeds from the event will help fund programs that encourage a drug-free environment and provide healthy lifestyle activities for Union County youth.

A group of more than 200 people are willing to walk the track through the dark of night, pausing occasionally to catch catnaps in their tents. We hope local young people are watching carefully. They should note the commitment that many adults in the community have made to them. Participants in this weekends relay will not rest until a happy, healthy, drug-free place is created for them.


The Union County Chamber of Commerces Leadership Union County program is in need of more people aspiring to be leaders in our community. The program, which starts Oct. 10 and runs one day a month through May, provides an overview of our community that is unmatched in its scope.

The program, started in 1990, is designed to train up to 25 people in the specifics of leadership in the county. Participants will learn about every aspect of the county and leadership concepts, from team building and time management to communications and economic development.

The cost is $400 to chamber members, $450 to non-members. The Leadership Union County classes will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at various locations in the county.

People who want to find out more about leadership and their community should consider signing up. To find out more, call Judy Loudermilk at 963-8588.