There’s no better feeling that driving a golf ball plum down the center of a fairway and onto the green. And it’s ever more satisfying when you’re swinging your clubs to help the community.
The annual Harnett Health Foundation Golf Tournament, held at Keith Hills Country Club Thursday, raised more that $61,000. At least some of that money has been earmarked to be used for a community clinic in Lillington.
According to Harnett Health administration, the money is expected to be used for the operational cost of the clinic in cooperation with Campbell University.
Administrators said Campbell University medical students and Harnett Health doctors would staff the community clinic with the physicians donating their time. Money raised at last year’s event helped with $150,000 worth of renovations to the Betsy Johnson Hospital emergency department.
The 2018 golf tournament field 27 teams and ended in a three-way tie for first place. Three teams shot 54s, leading to a tiebreaker, decided by a hole-by-hole comparison, based upon hole difficulty.
There were two flights, or groups. The first flight consisted of the top 13 teams and the second flight was made up of the next 14 teams.
Finishing first overall was the team of James Harris, Jason Bethune, Bo Crooks and Brandon Conover. In second was William Bratton and Bobby Stens. Third place in the first flight went to Graham Thompson, Jody Yarbrough, Brett McLamb and Avery Stewart.
First place in the second flight, shooting a 64, was Brandon Whitley, Andy Johnson, Parrish Parker and Matt Reagan. Second place, with a score of 65, went to Bill Bedsole, Pat Hawkins, Robb Provo and Gary Serafini. In third, with another 65, was Frankie Lewis, David Stephens, Harold Butts and Steve Ashworth.
There were closest to the pin, longest drive and putting contest awards given out, as well as many raffle prizes, like golf bags. There were also several vendors on site like Valley Radiology, Baker Roofing and Liberty Home Care & Hospice.
Harnett Health Systems board member Cornelia Stewart spoke briefly before an invocation was led by Harnett Health President Kevin Jackson.
Stewart congratulated all of the golfers for helping raise funds used to take care of children, the elderly and all who need health care.
“You made this possible,” she said. “Know that you have done something for the community.”
She praised all of the donors’ generosity, before singling one exceptional fundraiser out of the crowd.
Toby Pope was awarded an employee fundraiser of the year trophy Thursday, handed to him personally by Stewart.
Pope raised more than $8,000 in 2017 and $6,250 this year. Stewart said he deserved the award, as his efforts to raise nearly $15,000 in 24 months helped with the Betsy Johnson Hospital renovations.
Before Stewart left Keith Hills Country Club that morning, Jay Jaynes, general manager of Precision Ford of Lillington, donated $1,500, bringing the then-total amount raised even with last year’s amount, $59,700.
“We’ve had such a good outpouring of friendship since we moved here and I really appreciate the kindness that everybody in the county has showed (us),” Jaynes said. “We’re all God’s children and we help when we can.”
Newly-appointed Harnett Health Foundation Director Craig Lloyd said this year the foundation has already helped support the Samaritan Fund, purchase rehabilitation equipment, cardiac monitors and new equipment for the cardiac catheterization lab at Central Harnett Hospital, in Lillington. Going forward, he anticipates the purchase of bassinets for Betsy Johnson Hospital, in addition to the future funding of a community clinic.
“I’ve been here for just over two months,” he said. “It’s been really phenomenal. The golf tournament is a reflection of how this community is such a good community ... how the people were able to come together in such a short time period.”
Lloyd, who organized Thursday’s third annual Harnett Health Foundation Golf Tournament, thanked volunteers, staff, sponsors and donors, saying “We’re blessed to have so much support here and to be able to see the results going directly into the community.”