The First Fi­nan­cial Bank/SHARE Ben­e­fit Golf Tour­na­ment cel­e­brates 25 years

El Dorado News-Times - - Front Page -

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.

Con­trib­uted Pho­tos

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.

Con­trib­uted photo

Ben­e­fit golf tour­na­ment: John Strother, left, and Rod­ney Bar­nette par­tic­i­pated in the 1996 ConA­gra/SHARE Foun­da­tion golf tour­na­ment to raise funds for In­ter­faith Clinic.

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