The First Financial Bank/SHARE Benefit Golf Tournament celebrates 25 years
One of the area’s longest-running charity golf tournaments is marking a milestone.
The First Financial Bank SHARE Benefit Golf Tournament will celebrate 25 years when golfers tee off at the El Dorado Golf & Country Club and Mystic Creek Golf Club in El Dorado on Sept. 23 and 24.
The fundraiser tournament, led by First Financial Bank and SHARE Foundation, has raised $962,729 for Interfaith Clinic.
“First Financial Bank has been a tremendous supporter of Interfaith Clinic and this community,” said Jill Temple, Interfaith Clinic executive director. “They assist both financially and with volunteers. A huge thank you goes out to them for making this tournament possible each year for Interfaith and our patients.”
Because of the community support, Interfaith Clinic provides full service medical care to insured and uninsured working, low-income patients in Union County.
Interfaith Clinic served its first patient in 1995, with a completely volunteer staff. After merging with SHARE Foundation in 1997, Interfaith Clinic grew to a staff of 14 with two paid medical providers.
“In 1991, I invited the clergy and lay professionals from the downtown congregations to begin a conversation about providing health care for the working uninsured. We met at the St. Mary Episcopal Church’s Parish Hall to address this need. I never dreamed the result would be what the Interfaith Clinic has grown to be,” said Father Bob Allen, a founding member of Interfaith Clinic and current Steering Committee member.
The SHARE Tournament started in 1992 with 72 teams playing at one golf course. It has grown to more than 200 players at two courses.
“The SHARE Foundation Golf Tournament has a long history of tradition,” said Shelley Landes, past SHARE public relations manager and tournament
manager. “One of those traditions is the John R. Williamson championship cup. Dr. Williamson was a champion for the work at Interfaith Clinic. In his honor, the championship cup is awarded every year to the winners of the championship flight. All the players and volunteers are all champions of this cause. Along with Dr. Williamson, I also wish to honor Dr. E. O. Ballard, Dr. Bill Landers and Clay Hendricks. These men never missed a tournament and shared a love of golf and a commitment to improving the lives of others. Their presence is missed each year.”
Many from our community have been participants in the tournament for many years. For some, this will be their 25th year of support. Alan Brooker was the Pro at the Lion’s Club Municipal Golf Course when the tournament started and remains active on the tournament planning committee. Another long term tournament player, Randy Jerry, said, “My son and I have always played in the SHARE Tournament. One year we played with father/ daughter team Steve and Ashley Jackson. Ashley made a holein-one at the third hole at the Country Club; possibly the only holein-one at a SHARE Tournament.”
“Two great days of golf, for a great cause,” said tournament golfer Henry Frisby.
An estimated 200 golfers are expected this year with a goal of passing the million dollar mark in total funds raised for Interfaith Clinic through this tournament. The entry fee is $380 per two-person team, which includes green fees, cart, lunch, tournament gift, snacks, beverages and prizes.
“Continuing to build on the success of our prior tournaments, we are excited about our 25th tournament and anticipate a great event this year,” said SHARE Benefit Golf Tournament Committee chairman, Kevin Waldrum of El Dorado Chemical Co.
Benefit Golf Tournament: Members of ConAgra (title sponsor before First Financial Bank) /SHARE Benefit Golf Tournament Committee members meet with Father Bob Allen, top photo, second from left, representing Interfaith Clinic, to discuss plans for the two-day tournament in 1996. Bottom photo, Robert Shultz, SHARE Golf Tournament Committee chair, left, honors Dr. John R. Williamson for his dedication to SHARE Foundation and the tournament, naming the championship trophy in his honor. Also present during the dedication in 2007 were Shelley Landes, SHARE public relations director and Alan Brooker, Lion’s Club Pro.
Benefit golf tournament: John Strother, left, and Rodney Barnette participated in the 1996 ConAgra/SHARE Foundation golf tournament to raise funds for Interfaith Clinic.