The 18th Annual Surry Community College Foundation Golf Tournament’s opening Thursday morning was bittersweet as tournament co-chairman Jerry Venable spoke to the morning round participants about late co-chairman Bobby Harold.
“This tournament would not be possible without you and the support of Surry Community College,” Venable said. “In the 17 years we’ve held this we have raised $724,000 with many teams returning year after year. We play this tournament with mixed emotions. It is different without my good friend, co-chairman Bobby Harold beside me.”
Harold’s son and daughter, Gary Harold and Susan Thomas, were present at the morning ceremony as well and appeared too overcome with emotion to speak after being recognized by Marion. The touranament was held at Cross Creek Country Club in Mount Airy.
“As Bobby would have said, hit them long, hit them straight and make very long putts,” said Venable, whose wife, Marion, serves as the foundation’s director. He also announced to the crowd Surry Community’s Casey Johnson finished 21 out of 120 in a recent national community college golf tournament with teammate Caitlin Hiatt finishing 37th. He said the SCC boys team finished 15 out of 45 colleges in a national community college competition.
Venable also said SCC alumni Justin Young was sixth in a long drive contest in Las Vegas with a distance of 445 yards and is being sponsored by Calloway Golf to participate in a national driving contest tour. He also honored the long time support of Bill Doss of W. R. Vernon Produce.
“It’s a great tournament. I feel we are going to break a record today,” Venable said afterwards. He said sponsorship overall had increased for the event, with six eagle sponsors and birdie sponsorships also increasing as he noted the crucial part the foundation played in projects such as a 58-acre purchase for future expansion. There were 27 teams were listed in the morning round with another 30 set for afternoon action.
Marion Venable pointed out a difference with this fundraiser is teams don’t receive jackets or trophies, they award scholarships for students from the proceeds. Megan Gillespie, Hunter Smith, Mitchell Mabe and Karie McLamb were present at lunchtime to talk with participants.
Gillespie and McLamb, who are both looking toward four-year colleges, said the scholarships meant they could concentrate more on education instead of looking for extra work to earn money for school expenses.
Other students who received scholarships in the 2013 SCC Foundation Golf Tournament were Brooke Johnson, Gieline Martinez, Farrah Matthews, Klay Newsome, Cole Penn, Erandi Reyes, Shey Steelman and Sticy Saavedra. Last year’s sponsors for scholarships were Thermo King Central Carolinas, Ascension Insurance, NCFI, Sells’ Team, Williams’ Team, Rogers Realty, Capital Bank, Cooke Trucking Company, Inc., Surry Chemicals, W.R. Vernon Produce, Mount Airy Hampton Inn and CRTS-Statesville.
“Events like this provide resources we don’t have from other avenues,” said Venable. “This truly supports students. It is a student-centered event to provide funding so those who might be unable to attend college will have the opportunity. It give us flexibility. It gives us the flexibility to find a way to address student needs.”
She credited Gary Harold and Susan Thomas for being an integral part of tournament planning and praised the traditional support of Harold’s firm, H&W Trucking, and the trucking industry locally. She said a wide ranging chain of volunteers begin work in December the tournament and stay with the effort right up until the day of the tournament as they volunteer to insure a good day for the golfers.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.