One of southern Illinois’ most anticipated charity poker runs is coming back. Southern Illinois Healthcare and the Coach Kill Cancer Fund are pleased to welcome Martin and Bayley Corporation, the parent company of Huck’s convenience stores, as the corporate sponsor of Huck’s Ride for the Fund on Saturday, July 12. The poker run will begin and end at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds with card draws at Riverside Park in Murphysboro, John A. Logan College, West Frankfort City Park and the Harbor Oaks picnic area at Rend Lake.
Over the past several years, thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country have participated in what has become the largest fundraiser for the Coach Kill Cancer Fund. Former Southern Illinois University football coach Jerry Kill created the fund in 2006 after a personal bout with cancer. Coach Kill and his wife, Rebecca, kept the Fund operational locally, even after Coach’s career took him to Northern Illinois University and University of Minnesota. Although Coach Kill is a “Gopher” today, he remains a Saluki at heart.
“When we started the Coach Kill Cancer Fund, we made a commitment that no matter what happened in our lives that we would keep it in southern Illinois because of what the people have done for us. We are truly grateful for the commitment of Martin and Bayley Corporation and Huck’s. With their involvement in making the Huck’s Ride for the Fund possible, we will be able to help so many people in southern Illinois who need it,” said Coach Kill. The Kills’ are looking forward to attending this year’s poker run.
Huck’s Regional Vice President of Operations, Mark McKinney of Marion, says the sponsorship is especially poignant for him and the Huck’s family, as they will be riding and participating in honor of McKinney’s son, Andrew McKinney. Andrew passed away from melanoma last August at the age of 24. Andrew grew up with the Huck’s family and had stepped his way to becoming the southern Illinois district manager for Huck’s.
“Andrew was the type of young man who lit up a room with his presence, a true lover of life. He inspired so many during his three-year fight against the disease. The words “give up” and “quit” were not a part of his vocabulary,” said the senior McKinney. “As one of the young leaders in the southern Illinois area, Andrew was truly dedicated to his family, his company, and his community.”
Headquartered in Carmi, Martin and Bayley (a 100% employee owned and operated company) own and operate 115 Huck’s convenience stores with 1,300 employees in a five-state region. Huck’s employees will rally to support the cause at the many poker run stops throughout the region during the event.
“SIH is privileged to partner with Jerry and Rebecca Kill in administration of the Coach Kill Cancer Fund. To date, supporters have helped raise nearly a half million dollars and provided support to over 1,000 cancer patients and their families in southern Illinois. We are excited about the new partnership with Martin and Bayley and Huck’s as the presenting sponsor. We look forward to the Huck’s Ride for the Fund success,” said SIH Vice President of Community Affairs Woody Thorne.