MOUNT CARMEL - Scott Yeager dedicated his life to other people by serving as Aristes fire chief for more than 25 years and helping anyone in need.

Even in the last few months of his life, he volunteered for a study in hoping experts could learn from his battle with cancer.

"He thought, maybe even if it doesn't cure him, maybe they could learn enough for whatever was happening with him ... to help somebody else," said his son, Greg. "At the end of things, it summarizes what my dad was all about."

Greg Yeager paid tribute to his father in addressing the opening of the Mount Carmel Area Relay for Life on Saturday, which would have been the 38th wedding anniversary for Greg's dad and mother, Bonnie, who survives.

Scott Yeager, who died June 10 from melanoma at age 62, was honored in the opening ceremony and survivor lap at town park. Event co-chairwoman Ashley Pyle said she met Scott Yeager at the Southern Relay for Life May 31 and wanted to honor him when she learned about his death only 10 days later.

First at town park

It is the first time the 24-hour event took place at the town park, but Pyle said she expected a good turnout due to several factors, including the proximity to the picnic at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and being more in town than when the relay was at the Silver Bowl.

Plus, there's more room to spread out instead of being "stuck behind the bleachers," she said.

Unlike the stadium, town park does not have a circular track. So organizers weaved walking paths throughout the property, which Pyle alluded to in the opening ceremony.

"Cancer doesn't take the same path," she said to the 10 teams. "So you shouldn't have to feel like you have to take the same path through the night. Walk the whole area, cut it off. Make it yours. It's all our fight here today."

The event, which started at 12:30 p.m. with a parade from the high school to the park, then officially kicked off at 1 p.m., will end today at 1 p.m. with a final lap. The closing ceremony begins at noon.

The goal of the relay is $23,000.