The Surry Community College Foundation’s upcoming golf tournament will represent the 18th benefit event which is a forward looking legacy driven by a wide slate of volunteers. The 18-hole tourney is set for May 29 at Cross Creek County Club in Mount Airy.
Foundation Executive Director Marion Venable said the first round of the tournament is set for 8 a.m. and the afternoon round is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. with the group looking to field 32 teams in each round with a potential of 256 players participating.
While the event’s proceeds will be used for students and the college’s future, the tournament also is being held to honor the long-time Co-Chairman Bobby Harold, who passed away in August of 2013. His wife, Sylvia, who also played a large role in the events volunteering and seeking door prizes, has taken less of a role as other members of the family continue the tradition.
The tourney’s chairman is Jerry Venable, who recalls the idea came from a college in Mississippi, which held a similar one-day tournament to benefit its foundation. Harold had been involved in Shriner’s tournaments and Venable with Ruritan tournaments so they came together to form a partnership which lasted 17 years.
“Gary Harold and Susan Thomas have really stepped up and been an integral part of tournament planning,” said Venable, who also praised the traditional support Harold’s firm, H&W Trucking, and the trucking industry locally as the main fundraiser for the foundation. She said a wide ranging chain of volunteers typically begin work on the tournament in December and stay with the effort right up until the day of the tournament as they volunteer to insure a good day for the golfers.
Venable said the group has raised $724,000 in its previous tournaments and stressed it is the only fundraiser the group has, although it does hold some other donation campaigns. The foundation is a non-profit group whose activities include seeking and purchasing property for the school, supplementing academic services to students, community members, alumni and staff and aiding the welfare of the same groups.
She explained the foundation’s first focus was on scholarships alone. Venable explained over the last few years the historical level of support from state and federal sources for school initiatives has decreased, leaving a gap in funding plans for many colleges.
“We have to look to supporting, if necessary, the needs of the college,” Venable said. One recent example is the recent purchase of a 56-acre tract of land the school has planted with a new vineyard. The tract also could give other areas room to grow in addition to enology and viticulture. Venable said the school is looking to launch a capital campaign in mid-fall to create a “nest egg” to further support the technology program geared toward current and future energy needs.
She noted Surry Community’s commitment to business and industrial training by staying at the forefront of workplace needs in light of changes in the economy and indicated one distinctive aspect of the group is that it works hand in glove with the school and is not indiscriminately seeking donations.
An example of this is ongoing consideration of replacing the school’s science building, which was one of the first three built in the 1960s. One project being examined is a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics centered building on the new acreage which could benefit public school students and the college.
“We still have numbers of students who need scholarships, ” said Venable. Another need the foundation meets through proceeds from the tournament is students who are suffering from some sudden hardship who otherwise would fall through the cracks and not graduate as they are in the home stretch for their certificate or degree. These needs are usually identified by a faculty member.
The event is still interested in donors and hole sponsors and teams for the tournament. Persons may contact Jerry Venable at 789-6012, Becky Money at 386-3205 or Cross Creek Country Club at 789-5131.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on Twitter @MtAiryNewsDave.